Pâte Brisée (Shortcrust Pie Dough)

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Pâte brisée (shortcrust pie dough) is a buttery, flaky, and versatile pastry.  It’s the perfect choice for all of your favorite pies-sweet or savory!  

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Along with Pâte Sucrée and Pâte Feuilletée, Pâte Brisée is one of the Essential Pastry Recipes I think every baker should know.  Each one has an ideal use, and pâte brisée is all about pie!  Sweet or savory, deep dish or tarts, hand pies or free-form galettes…there are so many options.  When it bakes, the butter makes the pastry so flaky and the flavor is irresistible.

The flavor and texture are so much better than anything you can get at the grocery store.  Plus, it comes together so fast!  With a freezer stocked with pâte brisée, you can pull together an amazing dessert in no time!

What you need:

Pâte brisée ingredients

Butter –  Like most traditional pastry, this one is all about the butter-so use the best kind available.  I prefer unsalted European style butter.  For this recipe, the butter needs to be as cold as possible.  After dicing the butter, I put it in the freezer while I measure the rest of the ingredients.

Flour –  All Purpose Flour is the base of this recipe.

Salt – Because this pastry is used for sweet and savory- a little salt is added into the mix to help balance the flavor.  Like usual, I use my favorite Mortons Coarse Kosher.

Sugar – Just a little hint of sweetness

works for both sweet and savory applications.  The sugar also helps give the pastry a nice crisp texture.

Ice Water –  Extra cold water brings the dough together in the food processor.  I fill a glass with ice and water and measure out the amount I need just before adding, so it is as cold as possible.

How to make the Pâte Brisée:

Dice the butter into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place it in the freezer while you measure the other ingredients so it’s really cold with you are ready to use it.

In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients together.  Add in the chilled butter and pulse exactly 12 times.  This will break the butter down into just the right size pieces.

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Turn the food processor on and immediately pour the chilled water through the feed tube.  Stop as soon as the pastry comes together and forms a ball of dough.

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Divide the dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least four hours before using, but 24 hours is ideal.

Pro Tip:

When wrapping the pastry, I press the dough into a rough rectangle shape.  Fold the plastic wrap over, then use a rolling pin to work the dough into the corners.  This makes a perfectly even and flat sheet of pastry that will chill quickly in the refrigerator.

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How to bake the Pâte Brisée:

Because pâte brisée is most often used for pies, there are two main ways to bake it: with a filling or without a filling.

Blind Baking

For recipes that require a pre-baked pie shell (like lemon meringue pie or a tomato tart), start by rolling out one portion of the dough.

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Lightly flour the pastry, then wrap it around the rolling pin.  This is the easiest way to handle the pastry once it has been rolled out.  Gently transfer the dough into the pan, slowly working it into the corners.  Be sure to firmly press the dough onto the pan-direct contact will ensure the pastry bakes evenly.

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Chill for 20 minutes so the butter is cold when it goes into the oven- this makes the crust extra flaky!  Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights.  Blind baking ensures that pastry will keep its shape while baking.

Pro Tip:

If you have a matching pie or tart pan, use it to press the parchment into the dough lined pan.  This will accomplish two things:  it will ensure you maximize contact between the dough and the pan (for a crisp bottom) and conform the parchment to the shape of the pan (the pie weights will prevent the pastry from pulling away from the sides or puffing up while baking)

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Blind bake the pastry for the first 20 minutes at 350º F.  Carefully remove it from the oven and lift the parchment from the crust.  The pie weights retain heat, so I like to wear oven gloves for this task.  Fold the parchment in half and roll the weights into a heatproof jar to cool.

Return the pastry to the oven and continue baking until it is golden on bottom and lightly brown on the edges. Allow the crust to cool completely before filling.

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Baking with a Filling

For pies that bake with a filling, (like pecan pies or chicken pot pies) begin the same way.  Roll out and transfer one portion of pastry to a pie dish.  Chill the dough before filling-remember that cold butter makes a flaky crust!  Follow the recipe and fill the pie as desired.  If it’s a double crusted pie, roll out the second portion of dough and cover.

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Depending on your pie dish and the look you are going for, either egg wash and press the two together or tuck the excess pastry under the bottom layer and crimp the edgeS to seal.  Egg wash the top for an extra shiny, golden crust.

Recipes will specify how long to bake each pie, but generally filled pies will bake for about an hour at 375º F.

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Remember, fundamental pastry can be used in any recipe that calls for pie dough-and remember how easy it is to make!  The flavor and texture is SO much better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.  Stock up your freezer and you can have delicious pies in no time!

Pâte brisée recipe

Pâte Brisée (shortcrust pie dough)

The perfect pastry for all of your favorite pies. Buttery, flaky, and delicious!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keyword: pastry, pie dough
Makes: 2 10 inch pie crusts
Author: Corey Grimsley

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 300 grams all purpose flour
  • 12 grams granulated sugar
  • 10 grams salt
  • 227 grams butter unsalted, very cold
  • 60 grams ice water

Instructions

Make the Pastry

  • Dice the butter into 1/2 inch pieces.  Place it in the freezer while you measure the other ingredients so it’s really cold with you are ready to use it.
  • In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients together.  Add in the chilled butter and pulse exactly 12 times.  This will break the butter down into just the right size pieces.  Turn the food processor on and immediately pour the chilled water through the feed tube.  Stop as soon as the pastry comes together and forms a ball of dough.
  • Divide the dough in two and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least four hours before using, but 24 hours is ideal.
  • Let the pastry sit at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling out. On a floured work surface, roll out one portion of dough to 1/8 inch thick.
    Lightly flour the pastry, then wrap it around the rolling pin (this is the easiest way to handle the pastry once it has been rolled out).  Gently transfer the dough into the pan, slowly working it into the corners.  Be sure to firmly press the dough onto the pan-direct contact will ensure the pastry bakes evenly. Chill for 20 minutes so the butter is cold when it goes into the oven- this makes the crust extra flaky!  

Baking the Pastry

  • Baking times will vary, depending on the recipe. Be sure to follow the recipe instructions.

Blind Baking a Pie Crust

  • If a recipes call for a pre-baked crust (like a lemon meringue pie), you will start by blind baking the dough. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights. This will accomplish two things:  it will ensure you maximize contact between the dough and the pan (for a crisp bottom) and conform the parchment to the shape of the pan (the pie weights will prevent the pastry from pulling away from the sides or puffing up while baking).
  • Blind bake the pastry for the first 20 minutes at 350º F.  Carefully remove it from the oven and lift the parchment from the crust.  The pie weights retain heat, so I like to wear oven gloves for this task.  Fold the parchment in half and roll the weights into a heatproof jar to cool.
  • Return the pastry to the oven and continue baking until it is golden on bottom and lightly brown on the edges. Allow the crust to cool completely before filling.

Baking a Pie with a Filling

  • For pies that bake with a filling, (like pecan pies or chicken pot pies) begin the same way.  Roll out and transfer one portion of pastry to a pie dish.  Chill the dough before filling-remember that cold butter makes a flaky crust!  Follow the recipe (blind baking if necessary) and fill the pie as desired.  If it’s a double crusted pie, roll out the second portion of dough and cover.  Depending on your pie dish and the look you are going for, you can either egg wash and press the two together or tuck the excess pastry under the bottom layer and crimp the edges to seal.  Egg wash the top for an extra shiny, golden crust.
    Each recipe will specify how long to bake the pie, but generally filled pies require at least an hour at 375º F.
Did you try this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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About me

Corey Grimsley

I’m an artist and art restorer who spends an equal amount of time in the kitchen. Follow along as I put an artisanal touch on all of my bakes!

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