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Pastry Dough based on French Pate Brisee: A quick base for any Thanksgiving pie


Just what you need for Thanksgiving: A base for your appetizers or your desserts, that is easy to make, delicious, and versatile. You can put almost anything on top and bake it. It is that easy. And everything tastes so much better when it is home made!

Pate Brisee
Photo by Patricia Daumas

This is a butter based pastry dough that is very popular in France. French cooks use it to make almost any salty or sweet flavored pies and tarts.

“Le tip du Chef”: Work it quick and keep it cold… The secret is to handle it as little as possible and you'll end up making the perfect flaky savory paste. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, don't overwork it. Stop when they stick together, even if it feels the dough is not perfectly homogenous.

Ingredients for an 11 Inch crust:

* 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup cold butter

* 1/3 cup cold water


Mix together the flour and salt. Do not use salt if you are using salted butter. Using the tip of your fingers -or a pastry cutter, or a food processor on pulse setting quickly cut the chilled butter into the flour until it looks like coarse sand. If a few pea-sized pieces of butter are still visible it is a good thing. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture and mix gently, just until it forms a ball. It should holds together without being sticky and even should break easily.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill for several hours before working with it. This is important.

To prebake the pastry, roll out the pastry 1/8-inch thick to fit the pan, crimp and seal the edges. If you are going to fill it later with a rather dry filling, you can pierce the bottom all over with a fork. Don’t overdo it! If the filling is going to be rather moist or almost liquid, line with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry rice or beans. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Bake for 15 minutes.


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