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Pate brisee - need help

2house67's picture

I need help making patee brisee.  I only make pastry a few times a year so I am a bit out of practice.  I did have it turn out well once, but today I just cannot get it right,  I add the amount of flour, butter and water and there is still lots of flour left not incorporated.  The water is ice cold, butter is cold but there never seems enough water to make it gather together,  When I do add more water, the dough seems stringy.

I have tried it with a food processor (largest blade) and with a hand blender.

Any suggestions?

I have made the pastry with lard and have no problem, but I really love the taste of buttery pastry.

I have even tried the pastry with half shortening and half butter and I always seem to have to add way too much water.

Current recipe is 1 1/4 cups ap flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking powder

1 stick unsalted butteer

2-3 tbsp. ice water

roz's picture

(post #65277, reply #1 of 7)

The proportions of flour to butter sound fine. I've never used baking powder.

Sometimes in the winter, you might need more ice cold water as the flour is very dry due to low humidity, moisture in the air, etc.

I think Glenys told of a trick that really works for me. I freeze the required amount of butter and flour. Then grate the butter (with a hand held grater) into the cold flour, toss with a fork, add the ice water, toss again. Dump onto a large piece of saran wrap and gently knead a few times to incorporate the butter, flour and water. Put it into the fridge to relax for at least 30 min. The flour will continue to absorb the water while in the fridge.

I think there are other threads about pastry, pate brisee or pie dough. Do a search. I'm hopeless at searching on CT. And good luck!

Just noted that I use 1 cup AP Flour to 4 oz. (1 stick) butter.

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz

Edited 11/30/2009 11:16 am ET by roz

Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Do your best. Don Miguel Ruiz
2house67's picture

(post #65277, reply #3 of 7)

Thanks a lot.  I think I will try and use less flour and Glenys' tip.  Josie

cookgreen's picture

(post #65277, reply #2 of 7)

I had that problem for too long as well, I think flour has changed. I now use way less flour and it works much better.

2house67's picture

I have been searching the web (post #65277, reply #4 of 7)

I have been searching the web re this problem and I came across this info: to get perfect crust always use proportion of 3 parts flour, 2 parts butter or fat, and 1 part water. Any thoughts? Josie

quebecmom's picture

Cook's Illustrated for (post #65277, reply #5 of 7)

Cook's Illustrated for fool-proof pastry used part vodka with the water - I had to adjust because it get really wet so I used less liquid, but the pastry turns out beautifully.

caroljay's picture

I would add the water, mix (post #65277, reply #6 of 7)

I would add the water, mix gently, and if the dough is too dry, add additional ice water - up to 1 tablespoon - one teaspoon at a time. (There are 3 teaspoons for every 1 tablespoon.)

My favorite recipe features 3 cups flour, 4 ounces butter (1 stick), 1/2 cup shortning, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) ice water. I freeze the butter and shortning for 20 minutes, then cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. I mix the dough in a stand mixer, using the regular mixing paddle. I mix all of the dry ingredients, then add the butter and shortning cubes. The speed is on stir (lowest setting), and go for 3-5 minutes, until the fat cubes are about pea-sized. At this point, I stop the mixer and flatten any large pieces of butter with my fingertips. Then I mix for another minute. Add the ice water (all but 2 tablespoons or so) and mix gently (either stir speed again, or by hand, with a fork). Then dump the shaggy mess (it's not done yet!) onto a floured surface. Use a bench scraper to pick up and mix any unincorporated flour into the dough (add the additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if it is too dry). Divide dough in half with the bench scraper, flatten to 4-inch discs, wrap inplastic, and let chill (i leave it in the fridge overnight). The dough can then be rolled out or frozen. ;-)


2house67's picture

Thanks caroljay. I tried (post #65277, reply #7 of 7)

Thanks caroljay. I tried your method and it seemed to be better. At least I did not have way too much flour leftover. Josie