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Monday, June 29, 2015

Recipe: Pate Brisee (Flakey Pastry Dough)



Flakey Pate Brisee Crust

Recipe: Pate Brisee (Flakey Pastry Dough)

A Pastry Recipe Everyone Should Know


Pate Brisee (pronounced paht bree-ZAY) is a simple dough that produces a tender, flakey crust. It is frequently used for pies and tarts, both savory and sweet. Made with just a few ingredients (Cake Flour, Butter, Water and Salt), it's a logical starting point for anyone looking to hone their pastry skills.



Chocolate Seasonal Fruit Tart in a Pate Brisee Shell
Every good tart needs a good crust. If you're going to make a lousy crust, you might as well just serve a bowl full of the filling.

Basic Ingredients for Pate Brisee
The ingredients for Pate Brisee are easy to remember as ratios by weight: 
4 parts Cake Flour + 
2 parts Butter + 
1 part Water (with a pinch of Salt and Sugar) = Pate Brisee

A standard 8" Tart requires about 240g of dough. For a batch that size you will need:
137g Cake Flour +
68g Butter +  
34g Water = 240g Pate Brisee

Cake Flour for Pate Brisee
Start by mixing the Cake Flour with a pinch of Salt and Sugar.

Making Cake Flour by Adding Corn Starch to All Purpose Flour
If you do not have Cake Flour, you can make some. For every cup of Cake Flour needed, scale out 120g (1 cup) of All Purpose Flour and substitute 15g (2 tablespoons) of the All Purpose Flour with 15g (2 tablespoons) of Corn Starch. Sift the mixture so that the All Purpose Flour and Corn Starch are evenly distributed. The Corn Starch lowers the protein content of the mix and makes for a more tender dough.

Cold Cubed Butter for Pate Brisee
Cold, cubed Butter is added to the Cake Flour and mixed on medium speed until the chunks of Butter are broken into small pea-sized pieces and are well coated in Flour (a process known in French as "Sablage"... the make sandy).

Butter Cut into Cake Flour
You must use cold Butter so that it does not melt when mixed. Some people prefer to use Shortening, like Crisco, rather than Butter. Shortening does not melt at room temperature, making the dough easier to work with. However, Shortening is not as flavorful as Butter.

Ball of Fully Formed Pate Brisee Dough
The dough is formed by streaming cold Water into the Flour & Butter mixture until there is just enough moisture to make things hold together. Using too much water will result in a soft and sticky dough. Using too little water with result in a dry and crumbly dough.

Over-mixing the dough will cause gluten to develop, which can result in an elastic dough and a tough crust. If the dough is mixed properly, it should just hold together into a ball, and you should still be able to see the small pieces of butter distributed throughout.

Package of Pate Brisee Dough to Chill and Rest
Portion the dough as necessary for your specific needs (approximately 240g is needed for an 8"/9" tart). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before rolling. A resting period helps to relax any gluten that developed during the mixing process. This makes it easier to roll the dough and makes for a more tender crust.

The dough can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for a couple of months.

Forming a Tart Ring with Pate Brisee
For most uses, the dough should be rolled on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4" thickness.

Trimming a Tart Ring
When forming a tart, mold the shell and then chill and rest the dough in the refrigerator before trimming the edges. Use a sharp knife for clean, uniform edges.

Trimming a Tart RingPate Brisee is most often baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. An unfilled tart shell takes 25-30 minutes to bake fully.

Egg Washed Pate Brisee Tart Shell
Applying a light egg wash creates a shiny, golden finish.

Flakey Layers of a Successful Pate Brisee
When baked, the small pockets of trapped Butter melt, and the Water content converts to stream, resulting in a flakey texture.





- The Recipe -



Pate Brisee:

Yield: 480g - enough for two 8"/9" Tarts

Ingredients:
  • Cake Flour, sifted: 275g (approximately 2.0 Cups)
  • Butter, cold and cubed: 140g (approximately 0.5 Cup + 2 Tbls / 1.25 Sticks)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 tsp)
  • Sugar: 3g (0.5 tsp)
  • Water, cold: 68g (approximately 0.25 Cup)
A note on ingredients: If you do not have Cake Flour, you can make some. For every cup of Cake Flour needed, scale out 120g (1 cup) of All Purpose Flour and substitute 15g (2 tablespoons) of All Purpose Flour with 15g (2 tablespoons) of Corn Starch. Sift the mixture so that the All Purpose Flour and Corn Starch are evenly distributed. The Corn Starch lowers the protein content of the mix and makes for a more tender dough.


Directions:


1. Place the Cake Flour, Sugar, Salt and cold Butter in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. 

2. "Sablage" the dough: Mix the ingredients on medium speed until the cubes of Butter are broken into small, pea-sized pieces and are well-coated in Cake Flour. The mixture should take on a coarse, sandy appearance. 

Chef's Note: If the Butter is too warm, it will begin to melt and form a paste with the Flour rather than break into small pieces. This will make for a tougher final dough. If the Butter is soft, place the entire mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes before continuing.  

3. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly add the cold water until the Cake Flour and Butter come together to form a solid dough. When adding the water, the goal is to use just enough moisture so that the Flour can hold together around the small, solid pieces of butter.

Chef's Note: Environmental factors, particularly humidity, will change the amount of water needed to form the dough. Slowly add the water until a solid dough forms. This may require more or less water than indicated in the recipe. Regardless, do not over-mix the dough once the water has been added. When water is added to Flour, gluten begins to form. Mixing makes the gluten bonds stronger, and stronger gluten bonds make for a tougher the final product.

4. Scrape all of the dough together into a ball. Portion the dough as necessary for your specific needs (approximately 240g is needed for an 8"/9" tart). Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

Chef's Note: Small streaks of butter should be visible in the final dough when it is rolled out. A soft and sticky dough has been over-hydrated. A crumbly dough is under-hydrated. 

5. The dough can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for several months. The dough should be tempered, but still cold, before rolling.


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