Since the age of 14 I've worked to perfect my pastry crust. Having watched all 10 seasons of The Great English Baking Show I'm sensitive about soggy bottoms. Pate Brisee (pronounced pat, breeze) is the classic crust I use all the time from sweet to savory, tarts to quiche. I can remember the first pie I made and tried to top as a teen. My mother tried to help me and ended up throwing the dough on the counter and storming out saying, "Martha Stewart is the kitchen god!" Let me give you some advice to make this easy. Pastry can be frustrating if you don't relax, but oh so much fun when you master it. I've also discovered a secret ingredient to share with you!
What is Short Crust?
“Pate” means "dough" and "brisee" means "broken" in French. So basically I translate it "broken dough" alluding to the crumbling nature of the dough as it's comes together. So why is it called a "short crust"? Let's get really scientific here. The fats in the butter stop the formation of long gluten molecule chains thus resorting in "short" chains and a flaky dough. Usually the fat to flour ratio is 2:1. Now you can impress your friends in the pasty shop.
What is Blind Baking?
Blind baking is the process of partially baking the pastry crust without filling the crust, so it is "blind". This allows the crust to set up well and resist the wet ingredients you will pour into the crust. This is the best way to make sure the bottom of your pie, tart or quiche is not soggy.
Watch the video above as I take you through the process step by step.
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Cup, (2 Sticks) Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4-1/2 Cup Ice Water
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
Method- Pastry Dough
Kitchen Law! If your pastry does not come together properly it's too warm. This dough must, must, must always stay cold. The warmth from your hands or over working the dough will destroy your pastry.
Prep a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and feed tube.
On a plastic cutting board cut cold butter into small 1/2 tablespoon pieces trying your best not to touch them. I use the butter wrapper to help keep my hands clean and hold the butter. Why a plastic board? It's so much easier to clean the butter off the board with hot water.
Now for my secret- Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of water and a few ice cubes into a measuring cup. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into the water. This little ingredient will make the crust oh so flaky!
Now for the magic! In the food processor add the flour and butter alternately to the processor along with the salt and sugar. Pulse a few times until the butter and flour resemble a course meal.
Then pour the ice water mixed with vinegar, in a small stream, a tablespoon at a time, through the feed tube as you run the processor. Suddenly the dough will form a ball. Immediately stop the processor.
Dump the dough onto plastic wrap and divide the dough in half on two sheets of plastic wrap.
Form gently into two disks and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 week.
Method- Blind Baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To blind bake the pastry, using a rolling pin, roll one of the two disks on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" in thickness. Place the rolled pastry inside the pie dish (watch the above video for detailed instructions). Crimp the edges, cover in plastic wrap and return the crust to the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Chilling lessens the amount of shrinkage the pastry will undergo in the oven.
Remove the chilled pie shell from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Dock the pastry by piercing the bottom several times with a fork.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry starts to rise a slight bit but is not allowed to brown.
Then, pour in filling, and cover the pastry edges with an egg wash to encourage browning. Cook your pie, tart or quiche according to the recipe.