Pâte Sucrée is one of the three basic French pastry dough recipes. It’s sweet, crisp, and a bit flaky and used for a variety of sweet pie fillings. It’s perfect for cream based pies that have a lot of moisture. Scroll down for all you need to know to become a Pate Sucree master!
Pate Sucree Recipe
The name itself may be intimidating, but Pâte Sucrée (pronounced pat sue-KRAY) simply put, is sweet flaky pie dough. It is similar to Pate Brisee, or basic flaky pie dough, but with the addition of sugar. It is sturdy so it holds up to a heavier pie filling, such as cream pie or a chiffon pie. It’s made in a food processor–though you can make it in an electric mixer if you don’t have a food processor– and comes together quickly. This pie crust is sweetened just right, with a nice crispness to it and a bit of flakiness.
The truth is that I’m very picky about choosing the right pie crust when it comes to pies that need to be chilled or ones that are meant to be served cold. Butter-based flaky pie dough, when made right, tastes like a puff pastry or even a croissant. In my opinion, this type of pie dough should not be made to be refrigerated. It can taste stale. For a pie that needs to be served cold, this sweet pie crust is a better option. The pastry is a little bit “short”, or with a tighter flake, and much more crisp. It holds up well with chilled pies and still has it’s integrity when refrigerated.
What is the difference between a sweet pie crust and a flaky pie crust?
A pâte sucrée pastry uses similar ingredients to a flaky pie crust (also known as a Pâte Brisée), with one big exceptions: granulated sugar. The added sugar not only makes the pie dough sweet, but it also makes it more crisp and more tender because the granulated sugar cuts through the gluten formation. It has some flake to it, but not as much as a flaky pie dough without sugar.
- All-Purpose Flour
- Unsalted Butter
- Granulated Sugar
- Ice Water
How to Make Pate Sucree Crust:
These are the essential steps to making this sweet pie dough:
- Pulse together the flour, salt and sugar very well. You want to break down the sugar to a fine grain.
- Add in the butter pieces and pulse until they are about the size of a pea.
- While the processor is running, add in the water in a steady stream. Be careful not to pour it directly on to the bottom of the processor bowl, but into the flour instead. The dough should be crumbly, but not cohesive. Please see the photo for what it should look like.
- Divide the dough in half, and quickly bring the dough together by squeezing it with your hands.
- Place in plastic wrap and wrap tightly.
- Roll out the dough while it is in the plastic wrap to help to create an airtight seal and then let rest at least 2 hours, or better overnight.
Tips for Working with a Pâte Sucrée
- Let the dough rest. I never advise making a flaky type pie dough the same day you plan to bake it. It’s essential for the dough to hydrate properly and so the dough should rest at least overnight. If you absolutely need to, you can make the dough and bake it all in the same day, but you must let it rest at least 2 hours before you roll it out. Dough that is made the same day it’s rolled out and baked can be more difficult to handle and possibly deform in the oven because the butter hasn’t chilled enough and the gluten hasn’t had time to relax. Try to plan accordingly.
- Weigh your ingredients! An electronic kitchen scale is not a huge investment. You can get one for around $25. I can’t recommend enough that if you want to get good at baking, get a scale.
- Use better quality butter and flour. Both of these ingredients can wildly vary in quality. Poor quality butter is going to have a higher water content and less fat. Lower quality flour can vary in the protein structure and that will effect your final pie crust. In the end, I’d still choose a homemade pie crust made with cheap butter and flour over anything store-bought. However, with that said, if you are looking for a really amazing pie crust buying quality ingredients will make a difference.
- This dough is stickier because of the granulated sugar. You might even notice some moisture on the dough when you take it out of the refrigerator to roll it. You’ll need to use more flour than you typically would so it doesn’t stick. If there is a lot of excess flour on your dough after it has been rolled out, you can brush some of it off with a dry pastry brush. However, I find it useful to leave some of the flour on the pastry that will be touching the surface of the pie plate as it helps it release easier when the pie is baked.
- Bake this crust at a lower temperature. This pastry has a high sugar content, so I recommend to bake it at 400º to ensure it doesn’t burn. If you want to use this crust with a pie recipe that requires high temperature for a long time, it probably isn’t the best choice. However, it can be use in a recipe that calls for a high temperature in the beginning, but then lowers it. Cover the edges if they’re are browning too quickly.
How to Blind Bake this Sweet Pie Dough
Blind baking means to bake the pie crust empty, without any filling in it. There are a few reasons you would need to blind bake a crust, but the main one is that the pie has a no bake filling! In that case, you’ll need to fully bake the pie crust before adding in the filling.
To achieve the blind bake, start with rolling out the pie dough and placing it in the pie dish. Pierce the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to allow the steam to escape when baking. Place the dough in the freezer for 10-30 minutes, while the oven preheats to 400ºF. Line the pie dough with a parchment round piece of paper and then add pie weights to fill (or dry rice or beans or lentils), making sure to push pie weights to the edges. Bake for 20 minutes on the lower rack, then remove from oven and remove the parchment and pie weights. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes for a partial blind bake or about 10 minutes for a full blind bake. If the edges start to brown at any point cover them with pieces of aluminum foil.
Pies to bake using Pate Sucree:
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Pate Sucree is one of the three basic French pastry dough recipes. It’s sweet and used for a variety of sweet pie fillings. It’s perfect for cream based pies that have a lot of moisture.
- 2–1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (226 grams) cold butter, cut into ¼” pieces
- 1/3 cup (80 grams) cold water
- Add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
- Process for 30 seconds to combine and pulverize the sugar.
- Add in the butter and pulse 5 times.
- With the motor running pour pour in the cold water in a steady stream into the flour mixture. The dough should be crumbly and it should hold together when squeezed. If the dough is too dry drop in more water until it holds together.
- Empty the flour mixture onto a work surface and divide into two piles.
- Quickly using your hands form each dough pile together. Each dough should weigh about 11.5 ounces or 330 grams.
- Place each in a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until until it stretches to the corner of the plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight
- Dough can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Or frozen for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before ready to use.
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes for rolling.
Keywords: Pate Sucree, Sweet Pie Crust
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