My grandmother taught me how to make this basic pastry, called pate brisee, when I was young. The one thing I learned simply by eating her endless variations on delicious tarts for dinner every night is that this dough can be used for just about anything—sweet or savory.–Jean-Georges Vongerichten
LC Grand-Mère Is Always Right Note
The moral of the above story from Jean-Georges? Grandma, er, Grand-mère is always right, perhaps most notably when it comes to making rich, buttery, flaky pastry.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter preferably cultured, cut into pieces and chilled
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening chilled
- About 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 large egg
- Mix the flour, salt, butter, and shortening on low speed in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until crumbly. With the machine running, add 2 tablespoons cold water and the egg. Beat just until the dough comes together in large clumps.
- Divide the dough in half and press each portion into a 1-inch-thick round disk. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (You can refrigerate the tart dough for up to 3 days; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before rolling.)
- On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece of dough into a 10-inch round. Carefully transfer the dough to an 8-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing the dough gently against the bottom and up the sides. Trim the edges against the side if necessary.
- Line the dough with foil, then fill with dried beans or pie weights. Freeze overnight or until very hard.
- To blind bake the tart shell, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake the frozen crust until the edges are set, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Poke holes evenly over the bottom of the crust with a fork, then return to the oven. Bake until the bottom is set and the crust is blonde, about 8 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack.
Originally published February 29, 2012