pâte sucrée is really just a fancy way to say pie crust. but it makes me feel a whole lot sexier to make pâte sucrée than it does to make plain old pie crust. so there you have it.
if i’m going to be making pâte sucrée, i like to go ahead and make a double batch: half for now and half for next time. because nothing is sexier than being able to make pie on a whim because you are brilliant and already have pie crust in the freezer saving yourself time.
this recipe has been the saving grace of all my pies. it’s so darn flavorful: the toasty notes of spelt meld perfectly with the richness of butter. if you have a food processor, it’s actually very easy to make! (don’t be scared off by the long list of steps, i’m a chatterbox)
i know, i know — i’ve uttered the two most forbidden words according to all pastry chefs everywhere — food processor. but hear me out! the food processor is a magical tool built by very nice and cute elves who live in a magical land of baking ease, and neither they nor i want your pâte sucrée to be icky. besides, as much as i LOVE the cheese grater technique, grating all that butter can be a real drag.
i promise, you can achieve a delicious, flaky, buttery, and tender pie crust with the use of spelt flour & a food processor. you just have to listen to everything i say and follow these directions EXACTLY. 😛
so are you ready?! let’s do this.
spelt pâte sucrée
an original recipe by melissa slate
- 2 1/2 c whole spelt flour (can also use “light” spelt. here is my favorite spelt flour.)
- 1 t salt
- 2-3 t sugar, depending on your taste
- 1 c butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes & frozen on a baking sheet (that’s two sticks, btw!)
- 1 c ice water (1 cup-sized liquid measuring cup filled with ice then with water)
food processor method:
- measure flour, salt & sugar into the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the regular blade attachment. pulse once or twice to blend together.
- add cubed, frozen butter all at once using your hands to break up any buttery clumps. pulse about 15-20 times (about 15-20 seconds) until the cubes of butter are smaller than pebbles and a handful of the mixture will easily clump when squeezed in the palm of your hand. use caution when handling the mixture, as your job is to work as quickly as possible while keeping the dough very cold!
- once the butter is incorporated into the flour, and the mixture has that damp sand feel about it, begin to add a bit of the water. BE VERY CAREFUL THAT YOU DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH WATER. sprinkle four tablespoons of the water, a tablespoon at a time, over the flour mixture. then pulse 10 times, for about 10 seconds.
- stop what you are doing and take a look at your dough. are there large dry spots in the bowl of your processor? does the water seem to be mostly in one place? if the answer to both of these questions is yes, try pulsing a few more times (like 3-4) and check again. if it’s still dry, add another tablespoon of water and pulse 10 times.
- is your dough moist all the way through? does it look similar to how it looked before you added the water (you know, sandy with small clumps of butter) but a little darker in color? if this is what you see, you’re on the right track!
- sprinkle 1 more tablespoon of water over your dough and pulse 10 more times. then set a timer (i know, but trust me) for 10 seconds, and turn the processor to ON for exactly 10 seconds. your dough should be clumping together by now, but not quite forming a solid ball.
- if the dough has not begun to clump together at all, run the processor for 10 more seconds.
- no matter what state your dough is in, it’s time to get it out of the processor! if your dough is still not clumping, dump it into a gallon-sized zipper bag, squeeze to remove the air, and put in the fridge for 10 minutes. then see the *** later in this tutorial. if your dough has clumped nicely, proceed with the steps.
- dump the clumped dough onto a very clean lightly floured counter or board, and gently squeeze the clumped dough together with your hands, forming a rough ball.
- using a kitchen scale, weigh the dough in grams and divide the weight into two equal portions. form each half into a rough ball, flatten gently into a thick disk, wrap in cling wrap, and store in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour or up to five days. for much later use, wrap the dough extra tight and place in the freezer for up to 6 months! (just pop into the fridge the night before you want to use it, or let it sit for one hour at room temp before using and bask in the glow of how awesome you are for having made extra dough last time)
to roll out the dough:
- generously flour a very clean work surface & a rolling pin. i like to leave a small pile of flour on the side to use as needed.
- place the disk of dough on the center of your work surface. holding the rolling pin in both hands, smack the dough a few times to flatten.
- begin to roll, from the center out, lifting the edges and flouring underneath often. i like to make a few passes with the rolling pin, rotate one quarter turn, make a few more passes, rotate one quarter turn, until the dough feels like it might begin to stick to the work surface.
- gently fold up the dough and flour underneath or on the top as needed. you can also flip the dough over, flouring each side as needed to prevent it from sticking.
- once the dough has reached the desired size and thinness (you’re probably looking for 1/4″ thickness/11-12″ diameter), gently fold the dough in half, then in half again, and transfer to a pie plate.
- if making a double crust pie, trim the edges to a 1″ overhang and pop the pie plate into the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough. once the pie is filled, place the top crust over the pie, trim the edges to 1/2 of the length of the bottom crust’s overhang, fold the bottom crust over the upper crust and use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges.
- for a single crust pie, trim the dough so the overhang is about one inch all the way around. then fold over or under, and use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges.
- place the pie plate and formed crust into the freezer for 10 minutes prior to baking. right before placing in the oven, cut a deep slit, x, or several slits in the top crust (if applicable).
- for a cream pie or a pie requiring a blind bake, use a fork to pierce small holes along the bottom of the plate, line with parchment paper, fill with dried beans or pie weights, and bake at 400 F until just turning golden brown or until crust is completely baked, or bake according to the recipe’s instructions.
- for a fruit or custard pie, place the pie on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake in at 400 F for 20-30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until light brown and crisp, or bake according to the recipe’s instructions.
- in a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together flours, salt, & sugar.
- add cubed, frozen butter. using a pastry butter, cut butter into the flour mixture until the cubes of butter are smaller than pebbles and a handful of the mixture will easily clump when squeezed in the palm of your hand. use caution when handling the mixture, as your job is to work as quickly as possible while keeping the dough very cold!
- sprinkle about four tablespoons of water over the flour mixture and use the pastry cutter to incorporate until the mixture looks similar to how it did before (sandy with small clumps of butter) but darker due to the water.
- add another tablespoon or two to the mixture and press into the dough with the cutter.
- when the dough is *just* beginning to come together, dump all the ingredients into a gallon-sized zipper storage bag, squeeze out all the air, and pop into the fridge for 10 minutes.
- ***remove the bag from the fridge and gently begin to knead the dough through the bag with your hands. squeeze it together and see if it holds it’s shape. is it holding? keep mashing it together to form a large lump of dough.
- once you have a lump of dough, dump it onto a very clean lightly floured counter or board, and gently squeeze the clumped dough together with your hands, forming a rough ball.
- using a kitchen scale, weigh the dough in grams and divide the weight in two. then use the scale to weigh the dough out into two equal portions. form each half into a ball, flatten gently into a thick disk, wrap in cling wrap, and store in the refrigerator for one hour or up to five days. for later use, wrap the dough extra tight and place in the freezer for up to 6 months! (just pop into the fridge the night before you want to use it, or let it sit for one hour at room temp before using)
- to roll out, see above 🙂