Pate Brisee (aka Excellent Pie or Tart Crust)
from The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins (with Michael McLaughlin), 1982, New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., ISBN 0-89480-203-8
[I believe most Pate Brisee recipes use only butter, but this butter/shortening blend produced the perfect crust and was relatively easy to handle and roll out.—LD]
1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch granulated sugar
5-1/2 Tbls (2/3 stick) sweet butter, chilled
3 Tbls vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water
1. Sift the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is like coarse meal. [Alternatively, you can do the whole thing in a food processor. Pulse together the dry ingredients first, then add the butter and shortening and pulse until you get the right consistency. DO NOT run the food processor continuously. It will heat up and the fat will start to melt. You don’t want that to happen.—LD]
2. Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
3. Turn dough out onto you work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. [I skipped the smearing step. Just gathered the dough together on a piece of plastic wrap. It was still a bit “loose” and I was tempted to add more water, but after it chilled it came together. BTW, chilling for 30 minutes is probably sufficient, though it’s fine to chill it longer, even overnight. If you chill overnight, you may need to set it out for 30 minute or so before rolling.—LD]
4. Unwrap dough, place on floured work surface, and pound it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it. Roll it out 1/8 inch thick, or to desired thickness.
5. Drape dough over quiche pan or tart pan, ease it into the pan without stretching, pat into place, trim off excess, and crimp edge if desired. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. [I believe this is THE essential step to the perfection of this crust. Don’t skip it.—LD]
6. Preheat oven to 400° F.
7. Remove chilled dough from refrigerator and prick the bottom and sides well with a fork. Line the pan with foil or parchment paper; fill with uncooked beans or rice to weight the crust. Bake for 10 minutes or until dough is beginning to color.
8. Remove from oven, remove weights and lining, and cool slightly. You now have a partially baked shell which can be filled and re-baked for a quiche or tart.
9. For a fully baked shell, for a fresh fruit tart, for example, remove weights and lining from shell after 10 minutes and continue to bake until it is golden brown and crispy flaky, about 25 minutes total. Cool completely before filling.
Makes one 11-inch shell or five or six small tart shells, or 16 miniature tart shells. Also works great for one-crust pies.