Pâte Brisée (Shortcut Pastry, Pastry Dough, Pie Crust, Quiche Crust)
Credit: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle
You could make this dough using a food processor, but I find my results are better when I make this by hand, plus there are less dishes to wash and that is always a good thing.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) chilled butter cut into ½-inch bits
4 tablespoons chilled shortening
A scant half cup of ice water, plus droplets more as needed
- Place flour, salt, sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening in a big mixing bowl. Rub the flour and fat together rapidly between the tips of your fingers until the fat is broken into pieces the size of oatmeal flakes. Do not overdo this step as the fat will be blended more thoroughly later.
- Add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped, as you rapidly gather the dough into a mass. Sprinkle up to 1 tablespoon more water by droplets over any loose remains and add them to the main body of the dough. Then press the dough firmly into a roughly shaped ball. It should just hold together and be pliable, but not sticky.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured pastry board. With the heel of one hand, not the palm which is too warm, rapidly press the pastry by two-spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches. This constitutes the final blending of fat and flour, or fraisage.
- With a scraper of spatula, gather the dough again into a mass; knead it briefly into a fairly smooth round ball. Sprinkle it lightly with flour and wrap it in waxed paper. Either place the dough in the freezer for about 1 hour until it is firm but not congealed, or refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
- Roll out the dough: Because of its high butter content, roll out the dough as quickly as possible, so that it will not soften and become difficult to handle. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or marble. If the dough is hard, beat it with the rolling pin to soften it. Then knead it briefly into a fairly flat circle. It should be just malleable enough to roll without cracking. The dough should be used as soon as it has been rolled out, so that it will not soften.