This recipe makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart or one bottom crust. 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 8 Tbsp or 10 Tbsp of butter. If you are blind baking the crust (for example for a quiche), I recommend using 8 Tbsp of butter. 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 10 Tbsp of butter, the higher fat to flour ratio will give you a flakier crust, and it will be easier to roll out.
- 1 1/4 cups (160 g) 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, 112 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold
1 Combine flour, salt, sugar: Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined.
2 Add the butter, half at a time: Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 more times.
You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
3 Slowly add ice water: Add two tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse several times.
Then 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.
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.
3 (Optional) Press dough a few times to flatten some of the butter for a more flaky crust: 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.
4 Form dough into a disk, wrap and chill: Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disk. 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 a month until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)
5 Remove from refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes: When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to take enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out.
While the dough disk is still wrapped in plastic, warm the edges with your hands. If there are any cracks in the dough, massage them to close them.
6 Roll out the dough: Place the dough disk on a lightly floured, clean flat surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk.
If the dough is a bit stiff, use your rolling pin to press down on the center a few times. No need to be gentle at this point. You're trying to shock the chilled butter in the dough to loosen up a bit.
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.
7 Line a pie or tart pan: Place on to a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough. Freeze until ready to cook.
To cook the pie crust, follow the directions for the pie you are making. If you would like to pre-bake the crust, see our directions on how to blind-bake a pie crust.