Pâte sablée

This recipe makes a flaky, tender sweet pie crust that works well with every kind of dessert tart, from fruit pies to cheese cake.

1/4 lb. (110 g) unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 cup (130 g) plus 2 tbsp. flour

The ingredients should be at room temperature when you begin.

In a medium-size bowl, cut the butter into small pieces. Using two knives, cut in the egg yolk, then the sugar, then the flour. This is easily done. Simply hold the knives parallel to each other and cut in opposite directions.

When the butter is well coated with flour, go in with your hands for the final blending. Mix until the dough is no longer sticky and holds together. You may need to add a bit more flour. Form a smooth ball and let the dough rest for a minute or two. Then pat the dough into your pie pan, taking care to ensure there are no cracks. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 10 minutes.

The pie shell is now ready for filling and baking. Do not prick the crust, for that would allow juice from the filling to soak through. If making a fruit tart, arrange the fruit in concentric circles for a thoroughly French look.

The procedure is different if you are making a dessert that needs a pre-baked crust, like strawberry or raspberry tart: Prick the chilled crust all over with a fork. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill the foil with dried beans, for example spotted bortolli beans or red kidney beans (this won’t hurt the beans, which may be used again in any recipe). Now bake the shell at gas mark 5 (375 F, 190 C) for 15 minutes. Remove the pie pan from the oven and remove the beans and foil. Return to the oven and bake until golden brown, another 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.

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4 Responses to Pâte sablée

  1. lotika gulvadi says:

    How long do I bake the crust with the fruit if I were using stone fruit like apricots or figs? (option 1 in your recipe)

    • Meg says:

      Hello Lotika. You should bake the tart until the crust is a golden brown and the fruit is bubbly and a little bit brown. This can take 30-60 minutes depending on your oven and the temperature you choose. I generally take a look after about 30 minutes and check often after that if the tart looks like it’s close to done. There’s a description of baking a filled sweet pie crust in the recipe for rhubarb tart with peaches that you can find under the heading ‘Dessserts’ under ‘Recipes’. Cheers, Meg

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I make my pate in a cuisinart and am curious if this recipe could be done as well in the cuisinart. This recipe seems to substitute an egg yolk for the traditional ice water so I’m wondering if it would come to a ball in the cusinart without the ice water. Have you ever tried it?

    • Meg says:

      You know, I would advise against using a Cuisinart for this pastry. It’s so quick when you do it by hand and produces a very tender crust. Using a machine that would knead the dough could result in a tougher crust. Also, regarding ice water, this is not traditional in France. I have never heard of anyone using it. Over here, we like the ingredients warm, not cold. The key to success with this recipe is to begin only when the butter is at room temperature. It blends very nicely with the other ingredients, and you can pat it into a ball with your hands. Try it, and let me know how it turns out.

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