Savory Tart Dough (Pâté Brisée)
Savory tarts like quiche (and yes, real Frenchmen do eat quiche!) make for a great lunch or supper when paired with a green salad, a dry white wine, and fresh fruit. This is the dough you’ll want to use when making a quiche or pissaladière.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 3 hours chilling time
Yield: One 8- to 11-inch tart crust or shell
2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons shortening, chilled
5 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flour, salt, sugar, butter, and shortening in a food processor bowl.
Pulse a few times until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour.
With the processor running, pour the water through the feed tube. Process just until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently knead 2 or 3 times until it forms a ball.
Flatten the dough into a 1⁄2-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap.
Sprinkle both sides with flour and roll into a circle approximately 1⁄8 inch thick and 2 inches larger than the diameter of your pan.
Carefully lay the rolled-out dough over the rolling pin and position over an 8- to 11-inch tart pan.
Center it and gently fit it into the pan by pressing the dough into the pan without stretching it. Fold the excess dough over inside edge of the pan so that the sides are slightly thicker. Press the dough up and over the sides so that the thickness is even throughout. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim off any excess dough.
Place the pan with the dough in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour before filling and baking.
To make sweet dough (pâté brisée sucrée) for fruit tarts and other desserts, increase the sugar to 4 tablespoons.
Depending on the size pan you’re using, you may have some leftover dough scraps. You can reroll them once and use them to make small, rustic fruit tarts. Flour and roll the dough out into a circle on a lightly greased baking pan. Place thinly sliced fruit in the center, 2 inches from the edge.
Sprinkle the fruit lightly with flour and generously with sugar. Fold the 2-inch edge of dough over and toward the center, folding it in pleats as you do so. Bake in a preheated 400-degree-F oven until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
You may want to fill a prebaked tart or pie shell with a prepared sweet or savory filling. If you bake the empty tart without anything in it, the pastry will shrink from the sides of the pan, and the bottom will bubble up. To keep this from happening, the crust must be baked blind. To do so, prepare the dough up through Step 7 in the Savory Tart Dough recipe, and then continue as follows:
Prick the bottom of the chilled unbaked tart shell with a fork at 1⁄2-inch intervals.
Line the tart with a sheet of aluminum foil, pressing it against the sides of the pan.
Fill the tart shell with dried beans or rice, which will hold the dough to the sides of the pan.
Bake in a 400-degree-F oven for 8 minutes, or until the crust appears set.
Carefully remove the foil and beans or rice from the pan. (Because you can’t cook these beans or rice for eating, save them in a jar or plastic bag for other recipes that call for baking blind.)
Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork and continue baking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature before filling.