Pâte Sucrée

Pâte Sucrée, or sweet tart dough, is the perfect crust for a fruit tart.  Made with butter, sugar and flour and then enriched with an egg yolk, it’s shortbread-like texture will stay crisp for refrigerated tarts or pies such as the Classic French Fruit Tart.

It comes together easily in the stand mixer and doesn’t need to be rolled out (you just push it into the tart pan with your fingers), making it ideal for those of us (me included) who don’t love making pie crusts.

Begin by creaming the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer.  Add the flour and then the egg yolk.  The dough will be crumbly, like wet sand.

Knead it all together in the bowl and form into a ball.  Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a 6-inch disc.  Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

Once the dough is chilled, place the ball of dough into the tart or pie pan.  Break off pieces of dough and start by pressing it up the sides of the pan.  You want a thin, even crust all the way around, about 1/8-inch.  Any thicker and it will be hard to cut.

As well, when you get to the intersection of the base and side of the pan, use your thumb to thin it out and try to make a 90-degree angle there.  Sometimes, a crust can get very thick at the intersection and again, it will make it hard to cut and hard to eat!

Continue using the heel of your hand to press the remaining dough around the bottom of the pan.  Level off the top of the crust with a paring knife, if necessary.

Be aware that the way it goes into the oven is the way it will come out, so if there are tears or thicker parts of the dough, they will remain so try to be a bit careful in how your crust looks going into the oven.

Place the pie crust in the freezer for 30 minutes and then bake in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Let the crust side until completely cooled and then fill with your desired filling.

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Pâte Sucrée

Makes: One fully baked 10-inch tart shell or 9-inch pie shell

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes plus 1 hour for cooling


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Nonstick cooking spray with flour, for baking


In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the flour and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until the flour is incorporated. The mixture will look like wet, clumpy sand. Add the egg yolk and mix on low speed until the yolk is evenly incorporated and the dough is clumpy, about 30 seconds.

Using your hand, lightly knead the dough into a ball inside the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, press it into a 6-inch disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. (The dough can be tightly wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before using.)

Lightly spray a 9 & 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie shell with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

Place the chilled dough inside the pan. Pinch off pieces of dough and press them against the sides of the pan to reach about 1/8-inch thick and about 1/8 inch above the rim (you’ll trim the top later).

Using the heel of your hand, press the rest of the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. (It will look like a mess, and it may seem like you won’t have enough dough at first, but have faith, it will come together.) Be sure there are no seams in the dough, and press it squarely along the corners where the bottom meets the sides to avoid extra-thick edges. Use a paring knife to trim the top edge of the dough so it is even with the rim of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.

Place the chilled pâte sucrée on a baking sheet (for easy handling) and bake for 23 to 26 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Recipe by Once Upon a Chef


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