A delicious and easy sweet tart dough that tastes like a shortbread cookie. It is buttery, melt in your mouth good, but still has that crispy tart shell texture. Filled with anything from chocolate ganache to pastry cream and fruit; if you can make a pie crust you can master this simple Pâte Sucrée recipe.
Tarts are such a classic and versatile dessert, perfect for dinner parties, entertaining, or date night. If you’re not familiar with Pate Sucree sweet tart dough here is the low down!
Pâte Sucrée definition
Pâte Sucrée is french sweet pastry dough that is perfect for tarts. It’s main ingredients are flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. This recipe adds a bit of cream as well. It is buttery delicious and tastes similar to a shortbread cookie.
The difference between tart dough and pie crust
Pate Sucree tart dough is a much sturdier crust. When you remove it from a tart pan, it can stand up on it own. As mentioned above, the consistency is similar to a hard butter cookie. Pie dough, on the other hand, is delicate and flaky, and because of this you serve it directly in the pan you’ve baked it in.
What to make with Pate Sucree
Pate Sucree is most commonly used for tarts like fruit or chocolate tarts. That’s why it’s called sweet tart dough, it’s perfect for sweet fillings like ganache, pastry cream, or this delicious panna cotta. But, you can also use it in place of pie dough for a change of pace in your favorite pie recipe.
How to make Pate Sucree
The recipe and method of making the dough is very similar to a pie crust! You’ll combine butter, flour, and powdered sugar in a food processor but for this dough instead of adding water, you add mixed up vanilla, egg yolk, and cream. There is also a fair amount of powdered sugar in the recipe which lends for a very tender crust where the sweetness shines through.
To walk you through the steps, first start by mixing flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and spread the cold, cut up butter evenly around the blade. Pulse until the butter is combined and there are very few small pieces of butter. Then, you add the egg mixture and pulse until the dough comes together and starts to form a ball.
Once it’s formed, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge at least an hour. This will relax the gluten in the flour and help to prevent the dough from shrinking too much when you bake it. At this point, after you chill the dough you can freeze it for up to two months. You can also use the dough in any tart recipes you have. Just like pie crust, the dough can be blind baked or not.
Blind Baking Pate Sucree Tart Dough
If you’re blind baking your crust, roll the rested and chilled dough out on a lightly floured surface. If the tart dough is too hard after chilling, you can let sit for a few minutes to soften up. But note, you don’t want it to soften up too much. If at any point it gets too soft when rolling it out and putting it in your tart pan, you can put it back in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to re-chill rather than adding more flour.
Once you’ve rolled it out, take the end over a rolling pin and slowly lift up as shown above. This is a great way to move tart dough and pie crust without ripping the rolled out dough. Then place the dough inside the tart pan and start forming the shell into the sides and bottom of the pan. Add more dough in areas if needed. I made a pretty thick dough for this tart, because I wanted a nice dough to filling ratio. But, you can also roll it thinner if you want more filling.
Once the dough is molded into the pan, you can make the top even by taking a rolling pin or flat spatula over the top. Now re-chill in the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
For blind baking the tart shell, add a large sheet of aluminum foil on top of the tart and fill it with beans or pie weights. Bake at 375 degree for 30 minutes, rotating at the 15 minute mark.
Mini Tarts with Pate Sucree Tart Dough
For making mini tarts such as these you can either press a small ball of dough into the tart pan and even it all the way around with your fingers, or roll it out and use a round cookie cutter to cut circles and then press it into the tart pan. Be sure to score the bottom of the tarts with a fork as shown below.
Then, bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. No need to blind bake these little guys. If your mini tart pans are like mine and don’t have a removable bottom, let them cool completely before trying to remove. Then, gently tap the side of the pan against a table or counter and it should slip out.
Tips and Troubleshooting for Pate Sucree Tart Dough
- With most baking recipes, especially french pastries, I recommend being exact with your measurements. That means either weighing the flour or if you don’t have a scale, spooning the flour into a measuring cup and swiping off the excess with a knife. I’ve found this method to be the most effective way to get the correct amount of flour. When I tested it with the spoon and fill method, I got 6.23 oz, which is almost exactly the desired weight of 6.25 oz. Dipping a measuring cup directly into a bag of flour is a surefire way to overfill and add extra flour to your recipe, therefore altering the final results.
- If the tart dough gets to soft when you’re rolling it out, do not add more flour. Instead, put it back in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to re-chill rather than adding more flour.
- When blind baking, very carefully remove the pies weight by taking the edges of foil and wrapping inward. Then lift up. This will ensure you don’t crack the crust and pie weights don’t get everywhere.
This recipe was originally posted on April 9th, 2018 and updated on April 8, 2019.
Sweet Tart Dough
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour (6 ¼ oz)
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Whisk together egg yolk, cream, vanilla in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
- Place flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Place the pieces of butter evenly around the food processor and pulse 15 one second pulses. You want the butter combined with no large pieces.
- Slowly add the egg mixture, with the processor running. Process until it comes together and forms a ball, about 10-12 seconds.
- Form the dough into a small circle or rectangle depending on the tart pan you plan on using.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
- When ready to use, follow instructions in desired recipe.
For making and blind baking tart shell:
- Remove tart dough from fridge and let sit until it is workable (this will depend on how long it’s been refrigerated).
- Roll out - if using a 9 in circle you’ll want to roll about a 13 in circle.
- If the dough at any point is too soft to work with, rather than add more flour, place back in the fridge for 10-20 minutes until it is more workable.
- Transfer the tough to the tart pan by rolling over a rolling pin to pick it up. Then unroll it over the tart pan.
- Once placed over the pan, gently work the tough into the corners by lifting the dough with one hand, and pressing with the other. You want to press it until it is even all around. You can use extra bits of dough to reinforce parts that look sparse or thin, to make it even all around.
- Run a rolling pin or metal spatula over the top to remove any excess dough. Score inside of tart with a fork.
- Put the tart on a plate or small baking pan and freeze for 30 minutes.
- While in freezer, preheat oven to 375.
- Remove tart from freezer and place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the tart pan and fill with pie weights or beans. You want to make sure the foil is big enough to cover the edges so they don’t burn and you can easily remove the weights when the shell is still hot from the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, rotating 90 degrees at 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and very carefully remove the weight by taking the edges of foil and wrapping inward. Then lift up.
- Place back in the oven and baking 5 -10 more minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- Once completely cooled, fill with with tart filling of choice.
For Mini Tart Shells:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Roll out tart dough as instructed above.
- Using a circle cookie cutter, cut out circles slightly larger than the size of the mini tart pans. Using the same method as above, press the dough into the tart pan using extra dough to reinforce sparse spots if necessary. Use a rolling pin or metal spatula to make tops even.
- Score the bottoms with a fork.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Let cool completely before removing from mini tart pans.