Introduction to Pastry – Pâte brisée – Pâte sucrée – Pâte sablée – 3 types of short dough:
Tarts or biscuits are an important part of the pastry world as they emphasize the use of three types of pastry dough that are considered part of the basic knowledge regarding pastry, doughs that every pastry chef should learn to master: pâte brisée, pâte sucree and pâte sablée. The interesting fact is that their differences are actually stated in their name, brisée mening broken, sucrée meaning sweet and sablée meaning sandy.
Pâte brisée is the most basic dough of all and contains common ingredients: butter, flour, salt and water. Julia Child says that adding a small amount of shortening to this dough will make it more flaky. All ingredients must be cold before making pate brisee, this is one of the requirements of this particular dough. In addition to this, it is very easy to make: the cold butter is cut into cubes, then mixed into the flour until it looks flaky. Cold water (or other liquid such as egg for that matter) is then added bit by bit until the dough starts to come together. The golden rule is that you work the dough quickly so that the butter doesn’t begin to melt. You can use your fingertips or even a food processor, but make sure you move quickly and don’t overwork the dough. The final texture should look and feel flaky, with bigger pieces of butter scattered throughout the dough. The fact that is is rather neutral in taste makes it perfect for both sweet and savory dishes, such as galette or any kind of quiche. There are tons of recipes out there, but the main rule is that you use 1 part butter – 2 parts flour.
Pâte sucrée is, unlike pate brisee, sweetened. But often times the process of making it looks similar to brisee, meaning that the dry ingredients are mixed with butter until sandy this time, then the liquids (usually eggs) are added. Some recipes, such as Pierre Herme’s also call for almond flour in an attempt to yield a softer, sandier dough. Using cold ingredients has the huge advantage of yielding a dough that can be worked much quicker than one made with room temperature ingredients. The texture of this dough after baking is sandy, but it melts in the mough, it’s easy to bite into and it complements perfectly sweet fillings such as pastry cream or ganache, fruit fillings or mousses.
Check out the recipe for this dough below!
Pâte sablée is the richest in flavor from the three of them and has a higher sugar and fat ratio which makes it more suitable for desserts such as fruit tarts. Pate sablee is usually made through the creaming method, meaning that all the ingredients must be room temperature. The butter is creamed with the icing sugar, then eggs are added and finally the flour, salt and almond flour is using any. The final dough is soft and difficult to work with without chilling it properly. But using room temperature ingredients also means that it requires more hours in the fridge to set properly. However, after baking pate sablee has a nicer texture, it is soft and sandy, very easy to bite into it and it melts in the mouth. Pâte sablée is, for obvious reasons, used for desserts like pies, tarts and even biscuits.
Unlike the other three types of short doughs, sable Breton contains a raising agent, usually baking powder. This means that the final dough rises quite a lot, yielding a product that is crunchy, yet risen and high in volume. The texture is interesting, making sable Breton suitable for modern tarts or entremets.
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- 300 g all-purpose flour
- 20 g icing sugar
- 3 g salt
- 225 g butter (cold and cubed)
- 90-120 g cold water
- Combine the flour, icing sugar and salt, as well as butter in a food processor. Pulse briefly just until the ingredients are combined and the butter is broken into pea-size pieces.
- Add the water, gradually. Start with 90g then add more if the dough feels too dry. I eventually added all 120g and it was perfect. Once you add the water, just pulse a few more seconds until combined. The final dough should look wet, easy to gather in a ball, but still have pieces of butter.
- Transfer on your working surface and gather the dough into a ball. Do no knead it!
- Wrap into plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for 1 hours before using it.
- 125 g butter (chilled and cubed)
- 270 g white flour (sifted)
- 1 g salt
- 60 g powdered sugar (sifted)
- 30 g almond flour
- 50 g whole eggs
- 2 g vanilla extract
- Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer.
- Add the butter and mix until the mixture looks sandy and the butter is broken into very small pieces.
- Add the egg and vanilla, all at once and mix just until the dough comes together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
- Once chilled, transfer on a floured working surface and roll it into a 2mm thick sheet. Place the dough in your tart ring and press it lightly to line the ring well.
- Puncture the bottom of the tart with a fork to allow steams to escape then freeze for at least 10 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 170C for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Allow to cool down.
Don’t forget to explore and experiment with recipes. Start small, changing a few things and you’ll end up creating your own recipes. Baking isn’t always about perfect measurements and right temperature, but about being bold and having fun 🙂