Pate Sucree (Basic Sweet Crust)

Makes two 8 to 10-inch crusts


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten


  1. Put the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  All ingredients should be cold.  Add the pieces of butter and process for approximately 10 seconds, or just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  (To mix by hand, combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, Using a pastry blender or two table knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.)

  2. Add ice water and egg yolks at the same time, drop by drop, through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do not process more than 30 seconds.  Test the dough at this point by squeezing a small amount together.  It if is crumbly, add a bit more water.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Grasping the ends of the plastic wrap with your hands, as shown, press the dough into a flat circle with your fists.  This makes rolling easier than if the pastry is chilled as a ball.  Wrap the dough in the plastic and chill for at least an hour.
  4. Lightly butter or scary with vegetable cooking spray the pie plate(s) or tart pan(s) you will be using.  On a lightly floured board, roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch.  Place the pastry in the tart pan, pie plate, or pastry ring, which has been set on a parchment0lined baking sheet, and press it into the bottom edges and along the sides.  Trim the pastry using scissors or a sharp paring knife, or by rolling a rolling pin across the top of the pan.  (I often cut the pastry an inch or so higher than the edge of the tart pan and tuck this overhang to the inside of the pan for extra height and reinforcement).  Crimp or decorate the edges of the pastry, if desired, by any of the methods pictured on page 204.  Chill the pastry-lined pan until ready to use.  Unbaked pastry shells can be refrigerated, well wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 day; for longer stage, they can be frozen.
  5. PREBAKED PASTRY SHELLS:  To partially or completely bake unfilled pastry, preheat the oven to 375-400 degrees.  Carefully line the pastry with aluminum foil, pressing it into the corners and edges, and weight with beans, rice, or aluminum or ceramic weights, as illustrated.  Bake for 15-18 minutes (10-12 minutes for partially baked shell).  When the pastry begins to color around the edges, remove the foil and weights and continue to bake just until the pastry dries out and turns a light golden color for a partially baked shell, and a deeper amber for a fuller baked shell.  Let cool completely on a wire rack before filling.  Baked shells can be stored in tightly covered plastic containers, or well wrapped, in the freezer.

Source:  Martha Stuart Pies and Tarts

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