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Flaky Sweet Pastry Dough (Pâte Sucrée)

(recipe, Patricia Wells)

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour (do not use unbleached), plus more as needed
  2. 7 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  3. 2 tsp. sugar
  4. ⅛ tsp. salt
  5. 3 Tbsp. ice water

Steps

  1. Place the flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water and pulse just until the pastry begins to hold together, about 6 to 8 times. Do not let it form a ball. Transfer dough to a sheet of waxed paper and flatten into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle with additional flour, incorporating 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the pastry in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, carefully roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a loose-bottomed tart pan 10 inches in diameter. With your fingertips, carefully press the pastry into the pan and up the side, trying not to stretch it. Trim the overhang, leaving about a 1-inch edge. Tuck this overhang inside the pan, pressing gently against the side to create a sturdy, double-sided shell. If you build the pastry a bit higher than the height of the pan, you will have less problem with shrinkage.
  3. Prick the bottom of the shell. Chill for at least 20 minutes, or wrap well and chill up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. For a partially baked shell: Line the shell loosely with aluminum foil, pressing well into the edges so the pastry does not shrink while baking. Fill with baking weights, rice, or dried beans, making sure you get all the way into the edges to prevent shrinking. Bake just until the pastry begins to brown on the edges and seems firm enough to stand up by itself, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue baking until lightly browned all over, about 10 more minutes
  5. For a fully baked shell: Line the pan with foil and fill with weights, as described for the partially baked shell. Bake just until the pastry begins to brown on the edges and seems firm enough to stand up by itself, about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake for 20 more minutes. Watch the pastry carefully! Ovens vary tremendously and pastry can brown very quickly. Cool at least 10 minutes before filling.

Note

Culinate editor's note: The proportions in this tart crust are essentially those of Mark Bittman's Flaky Pie Crust. This crust, however, is sweeter.