Posted by: NoCtrlZ | 2011/04/14

Pâte Sablée

Sablée is French for sandy, and that’s what this sweet pastry is. It reminds me a bit of shortbread actually. This is not the kind of pastry that’s easy to roll out by any means (but it can be done between sheets of plastic). However, I find it’s best to shape it straight into tin. As you can see from my photos, the top of the sides came off once I’d baked the tart.

This tart base can be used for many recipes, for example a French Lemon Cream Tart.

Makes one 9 inch tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces (9 tbsp) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg yolk

Method:

  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in.
  3. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses – about 10 seconds each -until the dough forms clumps and curds.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped the mixing.

To press the dough into the pan:

  1. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed: press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.
  3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To bake the dough:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, it can be baked without weights). Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary:

  1. If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.

Storage: The dough will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. Well wrapped, it can be frozen for up to 2 months. Don’t bother defrosting it before baking – just add an extra 5 minutes to the baking time.

Going into the freezer.

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