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The Cook's Basics

Pâte sucrée

Pâte sucrée is our go-to tart dough for making tarts at The Cook’s Atelier. We use this tart dough for many of our tarts including our lemon tart, almond pear tart, and, of course, the classic French apple tart. We find this dough easy to work with and it makes for the perfect shell for many classic French tarts. We prefer to make this dough by hand in a big vintage white bowl, but it turns out just as nice if you choose to make it in your Kitchen Aid mixer. We also love to make Luc and Manon very special heart cookies with the remaining dough.


Pâte Sucrée
Makes enough for two 9-inch tarts or 16 tartelettes


1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cups granulated sugar
a pinch of flour de sel
1/2 pound unsalted butter

1 lemon, zested


Whisk the cream and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces, about a half an inch. Add the butter to the flour mixture and toss to coat the butter with the flour. Using your hands, combine the butter with the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Be careful not to overwork the dough as it will make the dough tough. Continue this process until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the lemon zest, heavy cream and egg yolk mixture and toss gently with a fork, just until it is incorporated. Feel free to use your hands to continue to combine the ingredients. But again, be sure to not overwork the dough. You can tell when the dough is ready by taking a small handful, squeezing it together. It if holds together, the dough is ready. If not, feel free to add a little more cream, a drizzle at a time, to reach the right consistency. When the dough is ready, divide the dough in two and place it on a sheet of plastic wrap. Gather the plastic wrap around the dough, forming a pouch, twist and push down to form a flat disk. Chill the dough for at least an hour or, ideally, overnight.

To make the tart shell, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll until a 1/4 inch thick, flouring as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface. Be sure to maintain a circular shape while rolling out the dough. Beginning at one end, gather the dough at one end onto a rolling pin and gently lift it onto the tart pan. Unroll the dough over a 9-inch tart pan. Gently fit the dough loosely into the tart pan, being mindful not to stretch the dough as you fit it into the pan. To remove the excess dough, you use your thumb to gently scrape along the sides of the tart pan creating a nice, clean edge to the dough. Freeze until ready to use, at least 15 minutes.

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