All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies (Pâte Brisée)

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Pâte brisée (pronounced paht bree-ZAY) is a standard all-butter pastry dough used for making pies and tarts.

All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies (Pâte Brisée) Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart.

This recipe makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart. If you are making a pie with a bottom and top crust, double this recipe and form two discs of dough instead of one.

I go back and forth on whether to use 1 cup or 1 1/4 cups of flour. If you are blind baking the crust (for example for a quiche), I recommend 1 1/4 cups of flour. The higher flour to fat ratio will help the crust keep its form when you pre-bake it.

If you are not pre-baking the crust I recommend using 1 cup of flour, the higher fat to flour ratio will give you a flakier crust, and it will be easier to roll out.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if for a sweet recipe)
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold

Method

1 Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.

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2 Add a couple of tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again. Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.

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3 Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface.

If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called "fraisage". Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky.

Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disc. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough.

You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough.

Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (At this point you can freeze the dough disk for several months until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

4 When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to take just enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out.

Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick.

As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

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Recommended Reading:

Pie and Tart Dough - detailed instructions by Helen of Beyond Salmon

Making a Perfect Pie Crust - by Pastry Chef Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater

Pate Brisee

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Showing 4 of 65 Comments

  • Clara

    Hi, Elise! I baked your cheesecake a while back and fell in love with your website. I was making a pumpkin pie today and decided to try making this crust, but I couldn’t seem to get it right and ended up having to use a store-bought Pillsbury crust instead. I made the crust twice. The first time, I used four tbsps of ice water and refrigerated the crust for an hour, but the crust got all gooey and stuck to my counter when I started rolling it. The second time, I used 3 tbsps of ice water instead but got the same results. Was I supposed to freeze the dough for an hour? It kinda looked like the butter was melting because of my handling of the dough. I was really looking forward to having a flaky, rich crust and I’m upset with myself because I don’t know what I did wrong.

  • Megan

    Elise,

    This may be a little too late to ask, since I’ve already finished the crust and put it in the refrigerator, but must I chill the dough for a full hour, (mandatory,) or can I chill it for twenty minutes? You might not reply in time, so I’ll probably just chill it at one hour for this time, but maybe for next time?

    Thanks!

  • adam

    Excellent recipe! Technique is everything – I found a recipe that had the exact same ingredients/proportions, but a different technique, and the pie crust did not turn out nearly as tasty as this one did.

    many thanks

  • MJ

    Hi Elise; I’m making this for the Tomato Pie recipe here on this website. Will I need to bake this pie crust before I bake the Tomato Pie, or will it all cook together? BTW, your website has been a huge inspiration to me. I’m not sure why, but I don’t find it as overwhelming as (say for example) allrecipes.com. I am so grateful to you. Warm regard, MJ.

  • Kalina Saraiva de Lima

    Hello Elise,
    it is only fair that i let you know i DO love your recipes and the way you present them. always simply and beautifully explained. it is also suuuper nice that you make portions which are far from giant :-)
    i have subscribes to your food blog for a long time now.
    hugs from tropical Brazil,
    Kalina

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