Basic Pâte Brisée: A Prebaked Pastry Shell
(Savory and Sweet)
This is my standard crust. It’s rich yet delicate, and a perfect base for all of my “tart” recipes—I use it for every single one! It’s easy to make, and may be done ahead and refrigerated or frozen, and then used when needed. This is the exact quantity for a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, which is the size in which I like to bake tarts, and is foolproof for a successful crust every time.
YIELD: One 9 x 13-inch crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cold and cut into quarters
3 tablespoons tasteless vegetable oil
5 tablespoons ice water
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse all the ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Do not overprocess the crumbs, or the crust will be tough.
Pour the crumbs out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times to bring them together into a dough. Do not overknead, or the crust will be tough.
Roll the dough into a ball and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Set it in the refrigerator and let it rest for at least an hour. Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter a 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and set it on a floured surface. Roll it out to a ¼-inch thickness, and assemble it in the prepared baking pan, pressing it against the sides and bottoms so that there is no air between the pan and dough.
Prick the dough all over with a fork to get rid of any air bubbles and to make sure it doesn’t buckle. Bake it for 15 to 18 minutes, until it is golden brown. Let it cool completely before filling it with whatever the recipe calls for.
Pâte Brisée “Sucrée”
To the above recipe, for sweet pies, add 2 tablespoons sugar and follow the same instructions exactly.