Pâte sucrée

Pâte sucrée tart with crème pâtissière
Pâte sucrée tart with crème pâtissière

Sticking with the sweet theme (can you tell I’m a sweet tooth yet?) I have been playing around with pâte sucrée this week.

Also known as sweet short crust pastry, pâte sucrée is essentially a basic shortcrust pastry with sugar added for flavour.

Compared with last week’s post subject, pâte sablée, it is less fragile and crumbly. It also stands up well so is the perfect vehicle for delicious fillings such as crème pâtissière, chocolate ganache and lemon curd.

After reading Michel Suas’ overview of mixing methods, I decided to give the creaming method a go this time.

The pastry dough creaming method is based on the standard creaming method used with cakes and cookies.

You mix the butter (usually softened) and sugar together first before adding in the eggs and flour. But instead of creaming together until you get a pale yellow mixture (as per cakes) you do it gently to ensure not too much air is introduced.

According to Suas, you should end up with a similar result to the sanding method – when you add butter to flour/sugar and then mix together with fingertips (creating a sandy texture) before adding liquids.

The bonus is that the results are generally more consistent because the butter texture is being controlled, and also easier in a warmer climate where you don’t have to worry about everything staying cold. Definitely useful in Brisbane where it is currently 25 degrees in the middle of winter!

I think the recipe worked really well but I’m not sure that I’d include the vanilla every time, especially if you plan to add a crème pâtissière filling (as I did here) – might be overkill.

Creaming method
Creaming method

Ingredients

200g flour
100g powdered sugar
Pinch salt
100g diced butter
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Sift the sugar onto your work surface and make a well in the middle.

Add the slightly softened butter and mix together until fully incorporated and creamy.

Add the egg yolks and mix together with your fingertips before adding vanilla extract.

Create a second pile of flour on your work surface, and, using your plastic scraper, start incorporating bits of flour until it forms a thick paste.

Add the remainder of the flour to form a dough.

Knead out with the heel of your hand 3-4 times (aka fraisage) and refrigerate until ready to use.

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