Pate Brisee is simply an all butter, super flaky pie crust. You can use this for both sweet and savory recipes (just use less sugar if using it for something like chicken pot pie). Even though the French term sounds fancy, make the crust is actually very easy.
There are two important components to a light, flaky crust (or biscuit or anything else “flaky”) — super cold butter and very little processing. If you want flaky, your butter must be COLD. When the little bits of cold butter hit the hot oven, they melt thus creating small air pockets which results in flaky layers. While it may be more work to cut butter in (unless you use a food processor), it is worth effort in the long run. Overworking the dough results in the butter warming up (from the heat of your hands) or just getting too small to create effective air pockets.
- 1 stick butter, cut in to Tablespoons and then cut those in half
- 1¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon sugar (1/2 teaspoon for savory recipe)
- 4-6 Tablespoons of cold water
- Place cut up butter in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, but preferably for an hour.
- In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture is coarse with pea sized pieces. Add water, 1 Tablespoon at a time. The mixture will be very crumbly, but only mix until you can press the pieces together and they stick.
- Remove dough on to a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently press the dough into a disc. Wrap disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- When ready to use the dough, remove from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Roll dough out to ⅛" thickness and about 12" in diameter.