The rich flavor, delicate texture, and versatility of pâte brisée have made it the standard at Martha Stewart Living and in this book, where it is used for pies and tarts both sweet and savory. From three main components — flour, fat, and water — plus a little sugar and salt, you get a crust that is incomparably flaky, yet sturdy enough to contain nearly any filling. An all-butter pâte brisée tastes best, but some cooks use shortening or lard for additional tenderness. The name pâte brisée means “broken pastry,” and refers to cutting the butter into the flour, either by hand or with a food processor. The butter-flour mixture should resemble coarse meal, with some pieces of butter the size of small peas, before cold water is drizzled into it; these bits of unincorporated butter give pâte brisée its famously flaky texture by releasing steam as they melt.
More formally known as pâte brisée, this workhorse crust is relatively easy to manage and bakes up wonderfully flaky. It is the ideal choice for homemade pop-tarts, but pairs perfectly with almost any filling in this book.
Use it with the Coconut Cream Pie recipe or the Pecan Pie recipe.