Saturday, June 13, 2009

How Sweet It Is! - Pâte Sucrée

Pâte Sucrée, French for Sweet Dough, is what most of us would refer to as "tart" dough. It's similar to in many respects, but with a few twists. Where is best suited for lattice and covered pies as well as many other savory applications, Pâte Sucrée is designed to stand on it's own. Meaning that it does not need the support of a "pie plate" and will literally "stand" after being unmolded from a tart pan. That is not to say that it "cannot" be used for a pie, after all, that is what I plan on using it for, as I have something else planned for the tart I need to make.

What is it that makes Pâte Sucrée so different? It's the addition of a large amount of sugar as well as egg yolks to enrich the dough. With you are trying to stop the formation of gluten protein to produce that flaky texture. With Pâte Sucrée you are doing the same thing, however, you are adding egg yolk proteins, because they have different properties than the gluten, lending stability to the structure without making it chewy. Between the added sugar and the egg yolks you end up with a pastry that is not necessarily flaky but crispy and slightly crunchy yet tender due to the lack of gluten. It will also be more evenly browned thanks to the additional sugar.

The same three commandments hold true with Pâte Sucrée just as they did with , but the added fat from the egg yolks gives you a little more "wiggle room".
  • Thou Shalt keep all things cold
  • Thou Shalt be quick about it
  • Thou Shalt keep it as dry as possible.

Cold is still your friend with this pastry dough. The butter and flour still needs to stay as cold as possible because the butter must be "cut" further into the flour. The texture will need to be a little finer than with , more granular.

Quickness is a virtue. Once you add the egg yolks, you need to move quickly as they DO contain water, which will trigger the glutenin to begin forming gluten.

Dryness is a little less important on this one, as the only moisture you are adding is in the egg yolks. Yes, it's water and yes, as stated above you do need to be quick as the longer you work the dough, the more gluten you will create... BUT, the added fat in the yolks will allow a little fudging on speed and handling.

Pâte Sucrée

3 cups (11.3 oz) (320g) AP Flour
1 cup (8 oz) (228g) Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp (3.5 oz) (100g) Granulated sugar
2 Large Egg Yolks - Cold
Update: 5/11 - If you live in a particularly dry climate, you may need to add 1 tsp of ice water in with the yolks, because your flour will not only have less inherent moisture in it but will also be "lighter" and weigh differently.

First slice you butter fairly thin, and place it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

Mix the flours and salt with a whisk together very lightly and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Add slices of butter and toss briefly to coat them.

Work the butter through the flour with your finger tips, sort of rubbing the flour into the butter or use a pastry cutter until fairly mealy. (you do not want little flakes of butter in this dough)

Add the Sugar and mix thoroughly.

In a small bowl, beat the Egg Yolks together. (If in a dry climate add up to 2 tsp cold water and whisks them together)

Add the eggs and mix quickly until the dough hold together.

OK, here is where this really differs. Since you MUST get the eggs thoroughly incorporated the 2nd commandment must be fudged... Just a little.
Dump the dough onto a raw board (no added flour)

Knead the dough mass three times with long kneading strokes to smooth it out cause it will still be a little mottled.(it helps if you have a bench scraper and can literally "smear" the dough across the board, scrape and repeat)

Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

Unlike , you absolutely have to chill Pâte Sucrée to let it rest.



Unknown said...

soo...are you labeling all these doughs that you're setting aside for pies? and when are you getting to the pies? I want pies! LOL :) actually, its fun to see the different types of pie crust you're working with.

jaden said...

nice deatail. alot of recipes say "combine all engredients" and thats it. this is a good job. ill be making passionfruit curd to go in.

Anonymous said...

maybe i am a fool...but as a culinary professional who followed the recipe to the minutest dough looked nothing like this. it was UBER dry...i even added another egg yolk...i EVEN tried to make the recipe twice thinking i measured the flour wrong the 1st time. Nope, dough was way too dry. I am looking at the photo now of the egg yolks in the pyrex pitcher with a fork and wondering how yolks only look that yellow, that runny, and how 2 egg yolks only cover that much of a forks' tines in said pyrex. Call me a liar.

Shane T. Wingerd said...

I am sorry you are having issues with dryness. When I lived in Palm Springs, I would whisk in 1 tsp of ice water into the yolks, because my flour was SO dry. In San Diego and Portland I have not had to do this because the humidity makes my flour "wetter". I hope that helps.

Kester Birch said...

Pate Sucre recipie was flawless and dare I say better than most - your step by step work through with watch points and visual/textural info was very professional nad head and shoulders above the rest!


I will be a regular visitor and look foraward to reading alot more of the site -

Kester Birch
Toornto, Canada