Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Tart Dough)
A pâte sucrée is a crisp yet tender pastry crust that is slightly sweet. It maintains its shortbread-like texture when chilled, which makes it ideal for tarts that require refrigeration.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
- 1 egg yolk
- Nonstick cooking spray with flour, for baking
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until the flour is incorporated. The mixture will look like wet, clumpy sand. Add the egg yolk and mix on low speed until the yolk is evenly incorporated and the dough is clumpy, about 30 seconds. Using your hand, lightly knead the dough into a ball inside the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, press it into a 6-inch disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. (The dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using.)
- Lightly spray a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie shell with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Place the chilled dough inside the pan. Pinch off pieces of dough and press them against the sides of the pan to reach just shy of a 1/4 inch thick and about 1/8 inch above the rim (you'll trim the top later). Using the heel of your hand, press the rest of the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. (It will look like a mess, and it may seem like you won't have enough dough at first, but have faith, it will come together.) Be sure there are no seams in the dough, and press it squarely along the corners where the bottom meets the sides to avoid extra-thick edges. Use a paring knife to trim the top edge of the dough so it is even with the rim of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
- Place the chilled pâte sucrée on a baking sheet (for easy handling) and bake for 23 to 26 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.