Saturday, June 4, 2016

Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Crust Pastry)




Next week, I will be sharing a very special recipe – a tart of sort. It will be a secret for now. In the meantime, I thought I will first share the basic of making pâte sucrée (sweet crust pastry) which I will be using for the tart.

I have two go-to pâte sucrée recipes. One is a lot easier and I like to use that for filling that needs to be baked, like my classic lemon tart and passionfruit tart.

This pâte sucrée is my favourite of the two even though it requires a few more steps, and the pastry is harder to manage especially on a hot day. But it’s worth the effort if done right because this pâte sucrée is more buttery, richer and crisper. Just like the ones that you get from a good French patisserie.

Lining the tart ring is still a challenge for me, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

A tip for making this pâte sucrée- avoid making this on a hot day especially if you have little experience with making pastry. If the pastry becomes too soft to handle, put it in the freezer for a minute until it’s firm.

This recipe makes a big batch. My advice is to make the full batch, divide into portions, and freeze the portions that you won’t be using. It keeps well in the freezer.

Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Crust Pastry)
(Adapted from PS Desserts)

360 grams unsalted butter, room temperature, softened
150 grams pure icing sugar, sifted
4 egg yolks
50 ml cold water
500 gram plain flour, sifted
a pinch of cooking salt

To make pâte sucrée:
Place the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.


Mix together at a low speed until the icing sugar is incorporated into the butter and the mixture is smooth. Take care not to aerate too much. You don't want it pale and fluffy. This step should not take you more than a minute.


In a separate bowl, combine the 4 egg yolks and water.

With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks and water mixture to the butter mixture bit by bit. At this stage the mixture may look as through it has separated (see photo below). Don't worry, it will be fine once the flour is added.


Now turn off the mixer, then tip in the flour and salt. On low speed, work in the flour and salt until the mixture just comes together and is crumbly. Do not overwork at this stage as the gluten in the flour will activate and the pastry could become tough. This step should only take about a minute.


Tip the contents of the bowl onto a work surface. Working very quickly, gather the pastry together into a smooth ball. Divide the pastry into half. Pat each half into about 3cm half rounds. You don't want a big boulder otherwise it will make it harder to roll out the pastry. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled all the way through. (This pastry freezes well. Freeze the portion you don't use. Remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the fridge before rolling out.)


Lining the tart rings:
Once the pastry has chilled (at least 30 minutes), roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until 2mm (1/16") thick. For a larger tart, roll the pastry out to 4mm thick.


If the pastry becomes too soft after you rolled it out, freeze the pastry for a minute until firm but still pliable. Cut pastry large enough to line the tart ring. Ease the pastry into the ring, and gently press the dough to the corners of the ring. It is extremely important (and the hardest step) to make sure the pastry is perfectly flush along the corner and sides of the ring. Make sure not to make too much indentations with your fingers. Trim off the excess pastry. Prick the pastry with a fork.


At this stage, I usually like to cover the pastry with plastic wrap and freeze it overnight. I find that baking the pastry from when it’s completely frozen helps minimize shrinkage.

To blind bake:
Preheat the oven to 180C fan forced.

Scrunch up a piece of baking paper, straighten it out, then line the paper over the frozen tart shell (I prefer using baking paper to foil because it doesn't stick to the pastry as much.) Fill with uncooked rice all the way to the top. Bake for 18 minutes (or 25 minutes for larger tart).

Remove from oven, tip out the rice and remove the baking paper. Return to the oven for 5 - 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

2 comments:

  1. Where are you tart rings from? What size are they?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jackie. They are 8cm diameter tart rings. I got it from wheels and barrows, but the last time I checked, they don't stock them anymore. You can probably get them online.

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