Pâte Sucrée or French Sweet Pastry dough is a key ingredient in classic French dessert tarts. It is a sweet, crumbly French pastry that is easy to make and is often filled with pastry cream and topped with fruit. Pâte Sucrée is similar to Pâte Brisée, but includes egg yolks and sugar. I used the Pâte Sucrée to make mini tart shells.
When Susan and I were last in Paris, we took a French Pastry cooking class. The recipe that I used for these delicious mini tart shells was from that cooking class. I remember thinking that the pastry was incredibly nice to work with. It does not disappoint!
Ingredients for Pâte Sucrée:
I used the following ingredients for the French Sweet Pastry: All-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, and an egg.
Making the Pâte Sucrée
The food processor did most of the work in making the French Sweet Pastry. In our French Pastry class in Paris, we didn’t have this luxury!
I started by pulse processing the flour and confectioners’ sugar until they were combined. This took 5 or 6 pulses. Then, I added the butter which I had cut into small cubes to the food processor. I pulse processed it for 8 or 9 times until the mixture resembled cornmeal.
Next, I added an egg, and pulse processed the mixture 5 or 6 times. At this point, the mixture was quite crumbly. I pressed together a small handful to see if it would stick together, which it did! Sometimes, the dough needs a bit more liquid, so I add a small amount of heavy cream.
Finishing the Pâte Sucrée
Once the dough was finished, I turned it onto a flat surface, and gathered it into a disk. At this point, I could have wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerated it. However, I was ready to move on with forming the mini tart shells.
I pinched off a 1-ounce piece of the dough and rolled it into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Then, I flattened it with my hand on a surface that I had sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Next, I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, and rolled it ⅛-inch thick. After that, I cut a 3 ½-inch round, pressed it into a mini tart pan, and cut away the excess dough. I repeated this with the rest of the dough.
I generously pricked each of the tart shells with a fork and placed them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. The pricking is important to ensure that air doesn’t push the tart shell up when it bakes. The freezing is important to make sure that the tart shell doesn’t shrink during cooking.
Once the shells were frozen, I baked them in a preheated 350° F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they were golden brown. I removed the mini tart shells from the oven and cooled them on a wire rack.
When the shells were cooled, I stored them in a Ziploc bag. I served them filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh fruit. They were luscious. They would be equally good filled with Lemon Curd. Yum!
Pâte Sucrée: French Sweet Pastry for Mini Fruit Tarts
- 1 ¾ cups (8.75 ounces, 250 grams) all-purpose flour (See Note 1)
- ¾ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 100 grams) confectioner’s sugar
- 7 Tablespoons (3.5 ounces, 100 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces.
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream (only if necessary)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Pulse process flour and confectioner’s sugar in food processor fitted with steel blade until combined, 5 to 6 pulses. Add butter; pulse process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 8 to 10 pulses. Add egg; pulse process 5 to 6 times. Mixture will be crumbly. If necessary, add 1 teaspoon cream; pulse process 2 to 3 more times.
- Dump onto piece of parchment paper or other surface. Knead just until dough comes together. (See Note 2).
- Pinch off 1 ounce pieces, about the size of a golf ball. Roll into a ball, and flatten onto a surface dusted with confectioners' sugar. Cover with piece of parchment paper, and roll ⅛-inch thick. Cut with a 3 ½-inch round cutter. Gently press into mold; cut away excess dough. Generously prick all over with a fork. (See Note 3)
- Freeze for 20 minutes. (See Note 4)
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely. Yield: 24 mini tart shells.
- I used Gold Medal Blue flour because if its lower protein content.
- Dough can be made ahead of time up to this point. Flatten into disk; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days in advance. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before ready to use.
- I used mini round nonstick tart pans . They were the perfect size for producing mini fruit tarts.
- Freezing the dough before baking is important to ensure the it doesn't shrink in the pastry mold.