Pie crust. That’s all that’s meant by Pâte Brisée; simple, savory pie crust. We’ve been looking for a pie crust that we can use as our go-to recipe, and, so, periodically, we try something new. In the past, we’ve tried the Vodka Pie Crust offered up by America’s Test Kitchen. It was tasty and flaky, but very, very sticky and difficult to handle. Not a good choice unless you like frustration in the kitchen. While we happen to have a pie crust that we like pretty well, it uses shortening, something that we’re becoming less enamored of, especially the whole hydrogenation thing, so we’re always on the lookout for a crust that avoids shortening.
Fortunately for us, Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel provide some of their secrets in Bouchon Bakery (you really should check out this book and consider getting a copy; the recipes are amazing), including their version of Pâte Brisée. Given Chef Keller’s reputation for perfectionism, we knew that we at least had to try it, figuring it might be too difficult for our go-to recipe. We were wrong; it’s actually a really easy crust recipe, so, follow along and you’ll see.
Now, we cut the recipe in half, because that fits more the size of what we bake. Uncovered pie or quiche, a top crust for a pot-pie, stuff like that. Double it if you need more crust.
Makes one 9-inch crust.
You’ll note that we list the ingredients in grams, mainly because we’re starting to measure by weight for certain ingredients, flour being one of them. Brown sugar is another. For ingredients like these, it’s easier and more accurate. No more need to fluff, sift, or pack before measuring. Just weigh and go. The other reason is that’s how they’re listed in the Bouchon Bakery; if it will help us make our desserts turn out like some of those in the book, we’ll weigh the ingredients. For the butter, unsalted is the only way to go. After all, you’re adding salt to the crust; why have someone else add an unknown amount to “help” you bake?
Procedure in detail:
Mise en Place. There is nothing difficult in this recipe, but with the two additions of flour, the need for cold butter in small pieces, and the ice water, get everything ready beforehand. It will make this recipe a breeze. So, cut up the butter, then put it back into the fridge until you need it. Measure out the water and put it into the freezer to chill (or make a small bowl of ice water and measure directly from that). Measure the 1/2 cup of flour into the mixing bowl and add the salt. And measure the additional flour into a small bowl or measuring cup. Everything ready? Great! We’re over the hump and on the home stretch.
Mix in butter. Attach the paddle to your mixer and turn the mixer to low. Allow it to run for a short time to get that salt and flour mixed together, then, with the mixer still on low, add the butter chunks in about five equal additions. Once the butter’s added, turn the mixer to medium-low and mix until all the butter is incorporated, about 1 minute. It’ll stick to the paddle and look sticky at this point.
Mix in flour. Now, add the remaining flour and mix on medium-low until it is just combined.
Add water. With the mixer still on medium-low, pour in the ice water and mix until incorporated. Once again, the dough will stick to the paddle and should clean the sides of the bowl. Now, it will look smooth and not sticky.
Shape and refrigerate. Shape the dough into a disk about six inches in diameter, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Roll out dough. When you need to roll out the dough, place it between two sheets of baking parchment, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. It makes it easier, and you don’t add additional flour, which could change the texture slightly.
We used this recipe to make a galette (post coming tomorrow), and we have to say that this crust was perfect. Flaky and crumbly like a crust that uses shortening, yet flavorful from the use of butter as the only fat, and really, really, easy to put together. No cutting the butter, everything comes together right in the mixer. In our galette, the crust ended up just the slightest bit soggy in spots on the bottom (it would be nearly impossible to blind bake a galette), but even those slightly soggy bits were quite good. We think we might have found our new go-to crust! Five stars