All Butter Pie Crust for Pies and Tarts (Pâte Brisée)

BakingPie Dough

An all butter pie crust recipe for sweet and savory pies. Pâte Brisée recipe.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Pâte brisée (pronounced paht bree-ZAY) is a standard all-butter pastry dough used for making pies and tarts.

All Butter Pie Crust for Pies and Tarts (Pâte Brisée) Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart.

This recipe makes 1 pâte brisée crust, enough for one tart or one bottom crust. If you are making a pie with a bottom and top crust, double this recipe and form two discs of dough instead of one.

I go back and forth on whether to use 8 Tbsp or 10 Tbsp of butter. If you are blind baking the crust (for example for a quiche), I recommend using 8 Tbsp of butter. The higher flour to fat ratio will help the crust keep its form when you pre-bake it.

If you are not pre-baking the crust I recommend using 10 Tbsp of butter, the higher fat to flour ratio will give you a flakier crust, and it will be easier to roll out.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if for a sweet recipe)
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick, 112 g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water, very cold

Method

1 Combine flour, salt, sugar: Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined.

2 Add the butter, half at a time: Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 more times.

You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.

3 Slowly add ice water: Add two tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse several times.

Then add more ice water, slowly, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together.

If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.

press pie dough to see if it holds together

Try to keep the water to a minimum. Too much water will make your crust tough.

3 (Optional) Press dough a few times to flatten some of the butter for a more flaky crust: Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface.

If you want an extra flaky crust, you can press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and shmooshing the mixture into the table top. This is a French technique, called "fraisage". Do this a few times, maybe 4 to 6 times, and it will help your crust be extra flaky.

press pie dough with heal of your hand to smoosh some of the butter

4 Form dough into a disk, wrap and chill: Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disk. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough.

form dough into a disk

You should be able to see little bits of butter, speckling the dough. When these bits of butter melt as the crust cooks, the butter will help separate the dough into flaky layers. So, visible pieces of butter are a good thing, what you are aiming for, in the dough.

Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

(At this point you can freeze the dough disk for a month until ready to use. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding.)

5 Remove from refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes: When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to take enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out.

While the dough disk is still wrapped in plastic, warm the edges with your hands. If there are any cracks in the dough, massage them to close them.

6 Roll out the dough: Place the dough disk on a lightly floured, clean flat surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk.

If the dough is a bit stiff, use your rolling pin to press down on the center a few times. No need to be gentle at this point. You're trying to shock the chilled butter in the dough to loosen up a bit.

Roll out the dough to a 12 inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch thick.

roll out pie crust

As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

7 Line a pie or tart pan: Place on to a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

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Pate Brisee

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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71 Comments / Reviews

No ImageAll Butter Pie Crust for Pies and Tarts (Pâte Brisée)

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Natalie

    Great. Thanks. I freeze the butter and then grate it. After each step I work with the butter I put it back in the fridge for a while to make sure it’s nice and cold before I go on.

  • B. Strange

    Have made this several times and it’s delicious! I also like Sherry Yard’s pie crust from The Secrets of Baking; very similar to this, but she cuts the butter into larger chunks at the beginning, and adds a 1/2 tsp of champagne vinegar to the ice water before incorporating. Apparently erring on the side of more water so that your dough is tacky but not sticking to your fingers is the key to rollable dough.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Mark Anderson

    I took a swing at the rhubarb ginger galette, but somewhere along the line I decided to substitue TBS for ounces and doubled the amount of butter in the recipe. Rolled out great though. I was congratulating myself on that, but it didn’t do so well in oven, though it did foam up quite nicely.

  • Clara

    Hi, Elise! I baked your cheesecake a while back and fell in love with your website. I was making a pumpkin pie today and decided to try making this crust, but I couldn’t seem to get it right and ended up having to use a store-bought Pillsbury crust instead. I made the crust twice. The first time, I used four tbsps of ice water and refrigerated the crust for an hour, but the crust got all gooey and stuck to my counter when I started rolling it. The second time, I used 3 tbsps of ice water instead but got the same results. Was I supposed to freeze the dough for an hour? It kinda looked like the butter was melting because of my handling of the dough. I was really looking forward to having a flaky, rich crust and I’m upset with myself because I don’t know what I did wrong.

  • Megan

    Elise,

    This may be a little too late to ask, since I’ve already finished the crust and put it in the refrigerator, but must I chill the dough for a full hour, (mandatory,) or can I chill it for twenty minutes? You might not reply in time, so I’ll probably just chill it at one hour for this time, but maybe for next time?

    Thanks!

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Pate BriseeAll Butter Pie Crust for Pies and Tarts (Pâte Brisée)