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Pâte Brisée / All Butter Pie Crust for Pies and Tarts

December 30, 2018


  • 1-1/4 cup flour, all-purpose, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp (savory crust), or, 1-1/2 tsp sugar (sweet crust for fruit)
  • 8 (if pre-baking crust) to 10 (regular crust) tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in cube
  • 3 to 4 tbsp ice-cold water, very cold, without the ice


  1. Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor.
  2. Pulse until well combined.
  3. Add half of the butter cubes.
  4. Pulse 8 times.
  5. Add the other half of the butter cubes.
  6. Pulse 6 more times.  You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
  7. Add two tbsp of ice-cold water to the food processor bowl.
  8. Pulse several times.
  9. Add more ice water, slowly, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together.
  10. Try to keep the water to a minimum.  Too much water will toughen the crust.
  11. Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface.
  12. Press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top if you want an extra flaky crust.  This is a French technique, called “fraisage”.
  13. Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times.  It will help your crust be extra flaky.
  14. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough together.
  15. Shape into a disk.
  16. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together.  Do not over-knead the dough or the crust will end up not as flaky as you want.
  17. Remove the disk from the refrigerator when you are ready to roll out the dough.
  18. Let it sit for 10 to 15 min to take enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out.
  19. Warm the edges with your hands while the dough disk is still wrapped in plastic.
  20. Massage any cracks in the dough to close them if there are any.
  21. Place the dough disk on a lightly floured, clean flat surface.
  22. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk.
  23. Use your rolling-pin to press down on the center a few times if the dough is a bit stiff.  No need to be gentle at this point. You’re trying to shock the chilled butter in the dough to loosen up a bit.
  24. Roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8-in thick.
  25. Check if the dough is sticking to the surface below as you roll out the dough.
  26. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
  27. Continue on with the recipe you are using the dough for.

Notes:  Pâte brisée (pronounced paht bree-ZAY) is a standard all-butter pastry dough used for making sweet and savory pies and tarts.  It may sound fancy but it’s still good to know.  The ingredients are pretty normal, just the technique is slightly different and the ingredients will vary slightly depending on the type of crust you are making.  If you are blind baking the crust, use 8 tbsp of butter.  The flour to fat ratio will help the crust keep its form when you pre-bake it.  Use 10 tbsp of butter if you are not pre-baking the crust.  The fat to flour ratio will give you a flaky crust, and it will be easier to roll out.

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