Thursday, 31 March 2011

Pâte sucrée

This pastry is traditionally used for filled tarts. The sweet pastry base is pre-baked,  filled with custard-rich crème pâtissière and decorated with glazed fruit. It's also fabulous when used for chocolate tarts, lemon tarts and bakewell tarts. The method I learnt involves forming a well of flour on the work surface (as for pasta) and then slowly mixing the other ingredients by using a palette knife and a smearing method that is called to fraiser the pastry. I've simplified this for ease and find the pastry is just as short and crisp. If any pastry chefs read this however and know of any reason why the fraiser method is necessary I'd be more than willing to be persuaded otherwise. 

Pâte sucrée
  • 170g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 85g unsalted butter (soft)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1\2 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Cream the sugar and butter, then add lightly whisked egg yolk, vanilla essence and salt and mix.
  3. Incorporate the mixture together with your hand until the paste is smooth but be careful not to over handle it. It will be quite wet but will firm up in the fridge when you rest it.
  4. Then wrap the paste in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
  5. Once the pastry has rested roll it on a floured surface and line a well greased tart tin. Lift the pastry on a rolling pin to prevent splitting and make sure it is pushed into all the corners of the tin so it fits snugly. Don't worry if it breaks, you can patch it up in the tin by pressing an excess piece of pastry over the split and sealing by applying pressure. 
  6. Roll the pin over the top of the tart tin (as in the picture) to trim the excess and then place the tins in the freezer to completely chill (but not freeze).
  7. Line the tart tins with a cartouche and baking beans or uncooked rice and bake blind for 10 mins, then remove the beans and bake for a further 15 mins. 
If you are using the cases to make filled tarts you can carefully remove from the tin now, but if I wish to use them for pecan tarts, lemon tarts etc I cook then for 5 mins less and the leave them in the tin. They will be baked a second time once filled with the required mixture.

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