Sucrée, Sablée, Breton and Brisée

Not everybody knows that instead of just one kind of short crust there are at least 4 different types that French classify as: pâte Sucrée, Sablée, Brisée and Breton. Each one has its own preparing method though it tends to become similar when an electric mixer is used.

 

This is the right blade (called the Leaf) for any type of short crust.

 Either with a blender or by hand , the dough must be compacted by hand and kneaded till the end. How can you tell when it is successfully finished? Slide a finger through the dough and check for lumps or trace of either flour or butter: if the texture is homogeneous means that you have just made the perfect dough. Then, it needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour to harden up.  Once out of the refrigerator, it will be knead for few minutes again to become tensile. Even after having placed it into a bake pan and all set for the oven, I would recommend another 10/15 minutes of rest into the fridge. In case you plan to bake a pie, you should butter the baking pan just with a tiny bit of soft butter. This is not done to help separation because there’s plenty of fat inside the dough, but rather to obtain an even distribution of heat along the bottom surface.

 

Sucrée (Robuchon) Short Crust

Ingredients

500 g Flour 00

210 g Butter (soft and diced)

195 g Icing Sugar

150 g Yolks (about 8 medium size yolks)

½ of a Vanilla Bean

Description

This version by Joel Robuchon is a very elastic Sucrée short crust, perfect for tarts excellent with chocolate based pies.

Directions

Each type of short crust has its own method of preparation. Place the soft dices of butter into a bowl and add the icing sugar (mélangé par crémage). Add the yolks one at a time, then the vanilla seeds and mix with the tips of your hand. Last add the flour and work the dough rapidly till you get a ball which you will flatten, wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. You can also use a mixer but you won’t  be able to differenciate the procedure giving at each type of short crust its own characteristic other than by changing quantities of single ingredients. In a bowl of  your mixing appliance, create layers with half the flour in the bottom, then butter,  yolks and vanilla seeds, icing sugar and, at last, top with the remaining flour: blend till it can be knead by hand.  When done, flatten the dough a little, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 1 hour.  Knead it for a couple of minutes again before shaping it for tarts, pie or whatever the recipe requires.  Bake at a temperature between 160 and 180 C. (320 to 356 F.). Baking time will depend on size and type of oven so keep checking after the first 15 minutes (mind that convectional ovens need a lower temperature than thermostatic).

 

Sucrée Classique

Ingredients

500 g Flour

400 g Butter

200 g  Sugar

4 Yolks

½ of a Vanilla Bean

Or

 1 grated peel of an untreated Lemon (just the zest)

Description

This is the classic short crust for pies and tarts.

Directions

Same as the Robuchon version but with regular sugar.

 

Sablée Short Crust

Ingredients

500 g Flour

250 g Butter (cold dices)

140 g Icing Sugar

5 Yolks

1 Egg

The grated peel of an untreated Lemon (just the zest)

Description

Actually you can flavor it as you prefer with vanilla, lemon and cinnamon or leave it natural; the main thing is that this short crust is great for crumbles.

Directions

Sablée means ’turned into sand’ and that is exactly what you will do with flour, cold butter dices and icing sugar into a bowl. Once you get this flaky compound, make the usual volcano on your board or kitchen table and put the yolks and the whole egg in the middle with the vanilla seeds. Break them with a fork and start incorporating the flour batter little by little but quickly. Work with the tip of your fingers till you can knead the dough, wrap it with plastic and store it into the refrigeratore for at least 1 hour. With an electric mixer you will have to layer the ingredients as suggested for the Pâte Sucrée obviously using cold butter dices instead of soft and icing sugar and then completing the preparation in the same exact way applying same resting time and cooking temperature.

 

Breton Short Crust

Ingredients

425 g Flour

85 g Potato Starch (better than cornstarch)

465 g Butter in chunks

150 g Icing Sugar

2 g of Salt

1 Yolk of a hardboiled egg

Description

This short crust is ideal for butter cookies. It is quite nourishing, so I wouldn’t use it in a pie unless I was after gaining weight. Fantastic for accompanying a typical 5 PM cup of tea, the Breton dough is definitely a recipe your guests will ask you to share.

Directions

Hard boil an egg and please, don’t laugh if I tell you how, because in this recipe is vital to end up with a perfectly hard-boiled yolk. Best way is to bring some water to a boil in a small stained steel sauce pan. Then, add one tbsp. of vinegar and lay the egg down with a spoon. Count 9 minutes (10 if it is a large egg) then rinse with cold water. Take a part of the butter and work it with the yolk till smooth. Mix the remaining chunks of butter with icing sugar.  Sift the flours into a large bowl and add the salt. You can use an electric mixer or continue by hand, either way mix everything together and as soon as the dough is kind of compact, start kneading it on the table using a bit of flour. When done wrap it with plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Out of the fridge, knead it again for a couple of minutes till tensile. Spread it to get a ¼ of an inch thick layer then and cut into cookies shapes as you prefer. Place them on an oven tray with wax paper and bake at 160 /180 C. (320 to 356 F.) till golden.

 

Pâte Brisée (Pie Crust Dough)

Ingredients

250 g (9 oz.) Flour

125 g (4.4 oz.) Cold Butter in chunks

60 g (2 oz.) Cold Water

Salt

Description

There are various versions of Pâte brisée some have eggs added some others treat it a bit like puff pastry. This is the basic type, probably the only one that should be called Brisée, good for salty preparations as well as for desserts and it is very easy to make.

Directions

Put the flour and the chunks of cold butter into a blender and mix them all up for 20 seconds with a generous pinch of salt (a good idea is to put the plastic container of the blender and the blades into the freezer for 10 minutes before using them). Place the mixture into a cold bowl and make a little hole in the middle. Pour 2/3 of cold water and using your hand as your fingers were a ‘rotating whisk’ , work the mixture a little. Quickly add the remaining water and as soon as the dough gets compact, put it on the table and knead it for the shortest amount of time you can. Flat it a little, wrap it in plastic and store it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Before shaping it with a roller and fit it in a butter/flour coated bake pan, knead it again for a minute or so till doughy (same technique as for the short crust) then place the brisée baking pan into the refrigerator for 10 more minutes before the oven. Cooking temperature, since there are no eggs, should be a little higher; about 200° C. (390 F.).  

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