Perfect Sweet Tart Crust (Pâte brisée sucrée)

SOME DAY YOU WILL THANK ME for this Pâte brisée sucrée tart crust. It’s easy to make, easy to roll out. And it tastes like a dream. A tender but firm, cookie-like dream.

You can use the baked crust for this Cranberry-Almond Tart

Or this Chocolate Ganache Tart

Or this Persian Lime Pie, which, in reality, is not a pie at all. It’s a tart.

The filling-possibilities are endless, baby.

Here’s the fail-proof recipe in photographic steps:

In a food processor outfitted with the metal blade, pulse together the following dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Then dice up a stick of cold butter, and add it to the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 10 times or so, just to break up the butter. The product should resemble coarse meal.

Violently beat one large egg…

And then, with the machine running, slowly pour the egg through the feed tube.

Process until the mixture turns soft and clumpy — it will start to mass on the blade — 15-30 seconds.

And don’t worry about over-mixing. We’re not making a flaky pie crust. We’re making a firm, swoon-worthy, cookie-like crust.

Pour the clumpy mass onto your clean counter (I use a marble board). Then gather the dough together, and knead it for a moment just to insure that  any stray flour is incorporated. (Do not flour your work surface.)

Form the dough into a disc, and then wrap it in plastic.

Refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to 3 days). Or, freeze for 30 minutes (or up to 3 months).

To form the dough into a 9-inch tart shell, proceed as follows:

Set the pastry on a lightly floured surface.

Note: Because I’m measurement-challenged, I always roll out my tart and pie crusts on a plastic template. You can obtain a similar pastry-template at better kitchen supply stores, or you can order one from an online dealer.

Before you roll out the dough, soften it just a little. To do this, give it several firm whacks with your rolling pin. Then flip the dough over, and whack the other side.

And here’s my secret for avoiding cracked edges: Hold the the dough vertically, and gently mash the edge with a rolling pin.

Now roll the pastry into a 12-inch diameter circle…

Fold the circle into a triangle…

And then unfold it onto a 9-inch diameter, 1-inch high, removable-base tart pan.

Note: You do not have to grease your tart pan.  There’s enough butter in this dough to prevent it from sticking.

Fold the overlapping edges of the dough against the rim of the tart pan…

and use your thumbs to press the edge against the fluted rim.

Prick the bottom (not the sides) of the tart all over with the tines of a fork.

To insure the shell holds its shape while baking, cover it with a big piece of aluminum foil — shiny side down. Press the foil into the contours of the pan.

Fill the lined tart with two pounds of dried beans (or use proper pie weights).

This next step is extremely important: Freeze the shell for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F., with the rack in the center position.

Bake on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, and then remove the beans and foil. Return the tart to the oven, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The crust is done when it colors slightly, and its bottom and sides feel dry to the touch.

You can fill the shell at this point. Or, you can unmold it, and let it cool completely on a wire rack. It will stay fresh and wonderful for up to 24 hours at room temperature.

For longer storage, seal the pastry in a plastic bag, and freeze it.

In the comments field below, let me know if you might try this gorgeous tart crust some day. Again, it’s easy to make, and you won’t have any trouble rolling it out. In a pinch, you can always fill it with — please forgive me — instant pudding.

For your convenience, here’s a copy-and-paste version of the above:

Perfect Tart Crust
As made by Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for one 9-inch diameter tart
1 1/2 cups all purpose (or “plain”) flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg, beaten

Making the dough — Pour the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the diced butter, and pulse 10 times or so just to break the butter up. With the machine running, add the beaten egg. Process until the dough just begins to mass on the blade — 15-30 seconds. Dump the mass onto your clean (not floured) work surface, gather it into a ball, and then knead it briefly to insure all stray flour is incorporated. Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or up to 3 days). Or, freeze for 30 minutes (or up to 3 months).

Forming the tart shell — On a lightly-floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle. Then center the dough on the tart pan. Fold the overhang inside the tart, pressing it with your thumbs against the rim of the pan. This way the sides of the tart will be thicker than the bottom. Prick the bottom (not the sides) all over with the tines of a fork. Place a big piece of aluminum foil over the tart, pressing it into the contours of the shell. Then fill with pie weights or beans. Freeze for 30 minutes or longer.

Blind-baking the shell – While the foil-covered tart is chilling, center the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or just until the crust is set. Transfer the tart to your work station, and remove the beans and foil. Return the shell to the oven, and continue baking until the crust colors slightly, and feels dry to the touch — 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Related Posts:
Easy Appetizer: Onion & Asiago Rounds
Lamb Chops with Rosemary & Mint
Snowshoe Naan


  1. I CAN’T WAIT for your cookbook. Hope you’ll let us know the MINUTE it’s available. Thanks for sharing all your recipes with us. You’re wonderful!

  2. Nancy Jalaty says:

    Looks amazing! Ditto on the cookbook!

  3. What a perfect crust to make with the tart shell pan I got at my bridal shower!

  4. What if you are a bigger tart?

  5. You are doing a cookbook??!!! Thank god.

  6. Hi WDibelka — If your tart pan is larger than 9 inches, you’ll need to increase the ingredients proportionately.

  7. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I wonder if a clear glass quiche pan with fluted sides would also work? Same size…

    This recipe seems very versatile. It’s a keeper.

  8. Sharon A says:

    This tart crust looks good enough to eat without filling! And Lemon mmmmm

  9. Nancy K says:

    Do you think you could use Gluten Free Perfect Flour Blend? same proportion of flour?

  10. Tiffany says:

    Nancy K: GF Perfect Blend Flour is “supposed” to be a cup-4-cup replacement for regular flour so am thinking it is worth a try as I am gluten free and use this same flour as well. Would use same amount of GF PB Flour as the flour recommended in the above recipe. Good Luck (to us both as I will use this flour as well in this recipe). Remember, this GF flour already has Xanthan Gum in the mix.

  11. Durelle says:

    Oh yes I do believe I will have to give this gorgeous tart a try! Your step by step pictorial makes it look easy and obtainable! Now I have a tart pan on my wish list.

  12. Beverly: I have found glass dishes give you a soggy bottom (never a nice thing!!) I live in France and my French friends raised their eyebrows at my glass pie I know why after several soggy bottomed quiches and pies – perhaps that helps?? Will try this tart today with the lemon filling, can’t wait! Thank you Kevin.

  13. Kevin … I was making a joke. My tart pan is just the right size, but this “tart” is 6′ tall.

  14. Looks delish! Anyway to use a kitchen aid mixer? I don’t own a food processer.

  15. Hi Laura – I haven’t tried it, but I suspect you could make this tart crust with your standing mixer. Let the butter soften to room temperature, and use the paddle attachment. Let me know if this works out for you, okay?

  16. The tomato pie. Can I either make on Monday and freeze until sunday OR can I make a day ahead and rewarm before serving or will any of that cause it to be runny and crust soupy and soft? Last thought if above causes changes. Can I put it all together just leave in fridge Saturday and bake just before serving Sunday?

  17. Dorothy Armstrong says:

    I am going to try this recipe for pie crust, also some of the other recipes! They all look good! I am also waiting for your cook book to come out!

  18. Well, today’s the day I thank you for this, Kevin. Making this with your lemon tart for Easter dessert and so far the crust alone is BRILLIANT. Amazing flavor and texture. We baked the scraps as cookies and my Wife exclaimed: Oh, that’s sexy! Thank you for this recipe, and the timely reminder, Happy Easter!

  19. Thank you for the tart shell! It was loved by all Easter and will be used again.

  20. What a great looking crust! And a cookbook??? Yes please. Sign me up!

    I look forward to your blog updates it give me reason to go outside and play, or stay inside and cook!!

  21. I have a question about the pate brisee both the sweet and regular. I have made the one for the tomato & goat cheese tart, and it was delicious, but I noticed that you have 2 versions of the recipe one with egg and one without. The same with the sweet version – one has powdered sugar and the other granulated and different amounts. Do you prefer one version over the other or are they interchangeable?

  22. Have you tried this with a filled pie? ie apple or pumpkin??

  23. Jeanne Collins says:

    Kevin, since I see you make gluten-free goodies from time to time, have you ever tried to make this in a gluten-free version? or do you have a suggestion for a gluten-free substitute?

  24. Anne in Vermont says:

    Thank you Kevin. I just too this out of the oven after the easiest pastry roll out ever preparatory to making your lemon tart tomorrow. Now I have to find the savory pastry recipe.

  25. Nichole says:

    Trying it for a zesty lemon Easter tart today! I made the dough last night, gave it a few whacks this morning. It’s in the the freezer right now.

    *Note: I don’t have a food processor, but my hand mixer worked just fine. I also used earth balance vegan butter because it’s firmer than my typical dairy free spread and seems to be holding up just fine.

    We’re all looking forward to this tasty treat!

  26. Rhonda Strahler says:

    **Gasp** INSTANT PUDDING??!!!???!! Ha – I happen to LOVE instant pudding. I find it has a lighter taste than from-scratch or cooked pudding. Anyway – who will know as long as I keep my mouth shut……..; )

  27. Katie Zack says:

    Kevin this dough is amazing! I love the lemon tart recipe so much, I make it frequently. I made the blueberry galette today. Fabulous.

  28. Judy Hines says:

    Another delectable dessert. That shell recipe — easy! As always, thx! Kevin, fyi, at our large Saturday Farmer’s Market the Theuret tomatoes are being sold!!! A friend saved seeds and has a buddy with a greenhouse who also sells plants at the Market. Apparently he has 72 Theuret’s! Ours are planted but they do not look as good as usual because we were away and they were not hardened off properly. No matter – They’re tough and will come through. Take care, dear one.

  29. Great instructions Kevin. I do not have a food processor. I really wish I did because so many recipes I see theses days call for one. Maybe when I go up to see my Dad who is 94 I will have one by then. He would love this desert too. Hope you enjoy rest of weekend.

  30. I used this recipe tonight! I can’t wait to try the tarts – one is blueberry pineapple. I appreciate your sharing as always! Thank you Kevin!

  31. Yes, Kevin, I will be making your lemon tart in the not-too-distant future. We made the blueberry bar this evening. Enjoyed making it, and “tasting” while it was still warm. That’s what we’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow. Easy to make, and easy to eat! Thank you for sharing!

  32. Kevin, Do you think that the Blueberry Galette would work for Thanksgiving if I made the crust ahead, froze it, made the blueberry mix a day or two ahead and then assembled it that day? How long can it sit before serving?

    Thanks for your check web site and Happy Thanksgiving. PS. Made your Mom’s pumpkin bread recipe but made it gf for a friend. It is awesome!

  33. Hi Carolyn – So glad the pumpkin bread worked out for you. As for the blueberry galette, you can certainly make the crust in advance, and freeze it. Best to prep the blueberries and assemble the galette on the day you wish to serve it. Happy TG to you!

  34. Am definitely going to do this crust with the lemon filling….looks really easy so let’s hope I don’t mess us….thanks for all the wonderful recipes you share with us….

  35. Dee Dee says:

    Kevin is your stick of butter 1/4 lb? Here a pound of butter comes in 4 sticks – seems to make sense but just want to double check the exact measurement. Thanks for everything.

  36. Hi Dee Dee – Yes, one stick butter is the same for me — 1/4 pound. Hope you enjoy this fab pastry!

  37. Absolutely going to try this. Excellent. Your recipes are always so clearly explained. I love them.

  38. I look forward to Sundays because I know there will be a new treat or idea from you!

  39. nancy smith says:

    I gained 3 pounds just looking at the pictures of your wonderful dessert concoctions. The only thing I would emphasize is to make sure all the ingredients are organic or biodynamically produced! Yum! Thanks!

  40. When is your cookbook coming out? I can’t wait….

  41. Beverly says:

    Can you get the same results if you do not have a blender?! I still do not have one, just a hand mixer.

  42. Hi Sally Norris – Thanks for asking about the cookbook. It’s in the photography stage. I hope to have all the photographs finished by Labor Day!

    Hi Beverly – You can certainly make this pastry dough entirely by hand, just as all bakers did prior to the invention of the food processor. Use your fingers or a hand-held pastry-blending gadget to cut the butter into the flour. Enjoy!

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