If you are looking to up your French pastry game then look no further than the humble pate brisee. This buttery tart crust is perfect for savory dishes like quiche Lorraine or a fresh vegetable tart!
Pate Brisee, or in the proper French: Pâte brisée, is one of the most popular types of pie crust. This was actually the second thing I learned to make when I was in France (the first being a simple baguette of course). In English this can be referred to as a short crust pastry, however I think there’s a bit of a difference as some short crust recipes are for sweet dishes.
One of my go to recipes that uses a classic Pate Brisee is the quiche. The most famous variation is called the quiche Lorraine which uses lardons, but I love switching it up and getting creative with the ingredients. I also love to make savory tarts like a classic French tomato tart (mustard tart) as well. If you are looking for a sweet crust then you should make a pate sucree, which is mainly used for dessert tarts.
Like baking? Try these other popular baking recipes:
- Coffee Bean Cookies
- Caramel Pecan Brownies
- Fresh Berry Tartelettes
- Ukrainian Cheesecake
- Italian Amaretti Cookies
How To Make Pate Brisee Dough
- 125 grams Butter, cold
- 150 grams Flour, sifted
- 50 ml Water, ice cold
So if you thought this recipe was going to be complex, think again. There are only 3 ingredients! As you can guess by the picture these are flour, butter, and water. Ok, you should add a pinch of salt as well, but I just forgot to add it for the picture.
To start you’ll want relatively cold butter. I take my butter out of the fridge just 10 minutes before getting to work. This allows the butter to stay chilled, while allowing me to smush the flour into it. Cut 125 grams of butter into small cubes.
Add to the butter 150 grams of flour and use your fingers to smash everything together. There should be large chunks of butter visible as you do this. Once every cube has been smashed with some flour trickle in about 50 ml of ice cold water. Knead the dough just until everything is combined.
When the dough looks like the picture above it’s ready to be rolled out. Some people recommend putting the dough ball in the freezer for 10 minutes before rolling it out, but if you haven’t worked it too hard it should be fine. If you want to store pate brisee dough for later you need to keep it in the freezer.
How To Blind Bake The Pate Brisee Dough
If you are making the pate brisee dough for a pie or tart then you’ll need a baking dish. I use my Emile Henry deep flan dish which is absolutely perfect for baking quiches. Pate Brisee should be pre-baked aka blind baked, otherwise the bottom can get quite soggy. This just means par-baking the dough before adding the filling and baking some more.
Roll out the dough until it can be draped inside of your tart or pie dish. Press it up against the edges and use a knife to trim the edges. Take a fork and poke the bottom a bunch of times so the bottom layer stays flat.
This next step is optional, but recommended. Many people still have issues with the center of the dough rising and the edges moving too much towards the center. A simple fix? Lay down a sheet of foil, fill with beans or pie weights, and then bake like that. The foil also helps protect the edges of the tart from burning, although some people prefer to use a pie shield regardless.
Bake the pate brisee crust in the oven at 350 F or 175 C for 45 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for another 10 minutes. If the dough pulls away from the edges a bit like as seen above, it’s not the end of the world. It just means next time add more beans or weights.
What To Make With Pate Brisee
The most popular French recipe that uses a pate brisee crust is the Quiche Lorraine. However you can get creative and invent your own tasty savory tarts. Here are some of my recommendations.
- Wild Oyster Mushroom Quiche
- Ratatouille & Octopus Tart
- Pear And Blue Cheese Tartelettes
- Ham And Manchego Tarts
Why Do Baking Recipes Use Metric?
You might have noticed that this recipe, and many others, use metric measurements instead of imperial. Some may find it arbitrary but there is a reason I write my recipes with grams and milliliters vs cups and quarts. Simply put, metric measurements reign supreme in the baking world. Why? They’re precise and consistent. Using grams and milliliters ensures that ingredients are measured accurately, leading to consistent results. Whether it’s flour, sugar, or liquids, weighing them ensures that baked goods turn out just right every single time. While imperial measurements might remind us of grandma’s recipes, they can lead to hiccups due to conversion issues.
Once you get on the metric train though, you are unlikely to leave. Simply buy a cheap kitchen scale and never mess up your ingredient ratios again. And when I say cheap I mean it. I’m still using a $7 scale I got 5 years ago; It’s definitely one of the top kitchen tools I recommend all home cooks need.
Pate Brisee Recipe
- Tart Baking Dish
- 125 grams Butter very cold, cut into small cubes
- 150 grams Flour
- 50 ml Water Ice cold
- In a bowl add the cubes of butter and the flour. Use your fingers to smush everythign together until the butter and flour and partially combined.
- Trickle in the ice cold water and knead lightly until a dough ball forms. This is the basic pate brisee dough; you can store this in the freezer for a month or two.
- If you need to blind bake the dough then roll out the dough until it is about 20% larger than your pie/tart dish.
- Drape the dough into the dish and press it against the sides. Use a knife to cut away the excess.
- Use a fork to poke a bunch of holes in the bottom. Cover with foil and fill with dry beans or pie weights.
- Bake at 175 C (350 F) for 45 minutes, remove the foil and beans/weights, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the bottom is golden.
- To make a quiche or other filled tart, fill the blind baked pate brisee with the filling and bake until the center is set. Enjoy!