Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Pate Brise

Pate Brise is just a fancy name for "short pastry." We're starting with this, because it's basic, basic, basic and can be used to make savory pies, tarts and quiches. Its sister crust, Pate Sucre, is the sweeter version which can be used to make pies and sweet tarts. We'll get to that one later.

Pate Brise has a fancy name, but it's not at all difficult to make. The reason it's a slow food is because it doesn't shortcut with shortening (yuck!) but features butter instead. The butter is a little finicky, so it has to be kept cold, cold, cold. Thus, we start with very cold butter and then, after mixing it with the other stuff, we add very cold water. After it's mixed, we flatten it (because that helps it chill faster) and then we put it in the fridge to get it very cold again. After we take it out and shape it--you guessed it--it goes back into the fridge to get very cold some more. All of this takes extra time, but it's worth it, because you end up with a delicious flaky crust that's not heavy with shortening.

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 c cold butter (unsalted, if you have it), cut into small pieces
1/2 c ice water

Put your flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.

Add butter pieces and process for just a bit, about 10 seconds or so, or just until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

With machine running, add ice water a little at a time through the food-processor tube. When the dough just sticks together but before it gets sticky or soggy,
you've added enough. Don't process the mix for longer than 30 seconds. Test
dough by squeezing a little bit of it together. If it is still crumbly,
add water just a little bit at a time until the dough just clings together. If you use too much water, you'll end up with a tough crust. Not enough, and you'll end up with a powdery crust.

Divide dough in half and turn out onto two large pieces of plastic wrap. Press dough into flat circles, which makes it chill faster and makes it easier to roll out after it's chilled. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Take the dough out, one disc at a time, and roll it on a lightly floured surface. You might have to knead it just a bit to get it to a rollable consistency, but don't overwork it or you'll have a tough crust.

Quickly work it into your tart pan, pie pan or whatever you'll be making, then chill it for 15 minutes before you fill it and bake it.

After filling, bake just until golden brown.

Now, wasn't that worth the time?


impromptu-mom said...

Yea!! I love the new blog!

Thicket Dweller said...

Thanks! Feel free to send me recipes for it. I'm looking for things that are from-scratch and worth it!

jill said...

I'm copying this recipe down as a must-try. Will it make a huge difference if I use salted butter?

Thicket Dweller said...

No, Jill, it won't. I've used salted butter and unsalted butter interchangeably with very little noticeable difference. Just adjust your salt accordingly, especially if you don't care for salty foods. I think it will be more of an issue with the Pate Sucre, which will be filled with fruits or other sweet fillings.

Ringmaster said...

Great job on the new site! I anticipate great results from trying your recipes. Thank you!