I fear I’ve been a little, flaky, lately. I’m trying to keep up appearances but somewhere among all the sauces and drinks and sugar laden treats round these parts I feel a touch lost. My Berry Filled Hot Cross Buns were a redemption of sorts but I look at all the unpublished, healthy meals sitting on my computer and in my camera and simply sigh.
In addition to the usual juggling act there is quite a big project I’ve been working on and a few other things that will hopefully come through sooner than later… I kind of feel like it is all holding together by a thread!
Good think this pastry crust is even flakier, I don’t feel so bad. [How’s that for a lead in, ha!]
Remember the ridiculously decadent Chocolate Caramel Tart I shared as part of the SABH Cocktail Party last week? This is the crowning glory – pastry made via one of the oddest methods I’ve ever tried, rendering one of the best crusts I ever eaten.
I wanted to make sure to share it so you could make the tart for Easter if you were so inclined – what’s one more chocolate treat on a weekend filled with chocolate, right?
One last thing before I run, if you’ve ever played video games you know about Easter Eggs – those little treats you unexpectedly stumble upon, or perhaps search endlessly for – kind of like hidden B-side tracks on a CD. And as if that little comment didn’t place me firmly enough into Gen X the last video game I played was Zelda, on the original Nintendo… don’t even try to do the math.
So in the spirit of Easter here’s a little, not so hidden, Easter Egg treat about my newest project. I’ll be sharing it properly next week but in the meantime, click here for a peek and have a wonderful Easter/Passover/Non-denominational weekend. I think I need some chocolate.
French Butter Pastry
Barely adapted from David Lebovitz as he learned it from Promenades Gourmandes.
This really is the the flakiest crust you will ever make. It is also the oddest method I’ve ever come across. Trust the genius of the French, they know their pastry.
Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) tart shell
- 150 g (5 ounces/1 slightly-rounded cup) unbleached white flour
- 90 g (3 ounces/6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, chopped, at room temp
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp raw sugar
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Filling of choice
Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F). Measure flour and set aside. Place a removable-base 9 inch tart tin on a baking sheet.
Place all other ingredients — butter through salt — in a medium oven-proof bowl and place bowl in hot oven for 15 mins. Butter will bubble and just start to brown at edges.
Remove bowl from oven, dump in flour and stir quickly with a long wooden spoon until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and forms a ball — do not touch bowl with your bare hands.
Tip hot dough into the waiting tart pan and spread roughly across the base with a spatula.
When cool enough to touch, use your fingers to press and spread evenly into tin and up sides — an off-set spatula is great here to get a really smooth base. Prick all over with fork and refrigerate for 5 mins to firm up slightly.
Bake 15 mins until golden. Cool, fill and bake again as required. I highly recommend using it for this Drunken Chocolate Caramel Tart insanity. If using with a no-bake filling, simply bake the crust for a minute or two longer, then cool and fill.
- Mixing flour into hot butter: put on oven-mitts and remove the bowl from oven. Set bowl on a heat-proof surface before dumping the flour in and stirring. Wearing a mitt on each hand means you won’t grab the hot bowl by accident or get splattered by the butter, trust me on this one…
- Oil: any vegetable or nut oil will work.
- Butter: splurge a bit and use the good stuff.
- Flour: using a scale is best but a rounded cup lightly spooned in is pretty accurate for 150g.
- Bowl: I used a Pyrex bowl and it was perfect, hypothetically I would think you could heat the butter/water mixture in a large saucepan on the stove, just don’t burn it…
- Dough: when you even off the top edge of the pastry keep the extra bits and if there are any cracks when the crust comes out of the oven simply smooth a bit of extra dough into them – I didn’t have any issue with cracks but better to be safe than sorry.
I have never heard of this method before and I’m soooooo intrigued. Thanks for sharing this! I can’t wait to try it out 🙂
I hope you do – I’m sold on it!
How do I bake this crust for a cold filling?
Hi Tina, as per the recipe, then simply bake a minute or two longer until golden. ~ JJ
Angie@Angie's Recipes says
o my … I can’t take my eyes off from the screen. The crust looks really flakey and the pie…is out of this world divine!
Phuoc'n Delicious says
This is the oddest method to make pastry dough, but seeing your pictures of how flaky the tart looks, it definitely makes me want to try it! Happy Easter, hope you have a lovely break
You too Phuoc!
Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas says
I have never seen such a weird method but I am all about making pastry easier so to me this looks awesome. Thanks. Will definitely be trying this one.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Melted butter for pastry?! I have to try this!
leaf (the indolent cook) says
I like the look of this technique – it actually seems pretty easy too!
yep, it is, just remember to wear oven mitts so you don’t burn your hand on the bowl 🙂
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Love the lead in! Flakey is just how a pastry should be. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your secret projects. Happy Easter JJ!
Christie @ Fig and Cherry says
Melting butter to make pastry? That’s very different! And so much easier than chilling the butter and all the utensils – will definitely have to try this! 🙂
Diane Scott says
How difficult is it to remove slices if your tart pan does not have a removable bottom?
Hi Diane, the pastry does shrink back from the tin just a bit as it cooks (you can see it along the edge in the very first pic). If your tin is sloped it will be quite easy to get the slices out. With a straight sided tin you may need to mangle the first one a bit – you know, for tasting sake ;D – but the rest will be easy.
cindy johnson says
Looks delicious! Could you put it in an 8″ pie pan? Would you bake it for 15 minutes and then fill it with ingredients that need to bake again for a while, such as apple pie ingredients? Would the crust get over cooked? It sounds so much easier than having to roll the crust out.
Hi Cindy (and Prissy) – I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for something like apple. I’d bake it perhaps 12 mins (instead of 15) first before filing it, and then cover the edge with foil part way through the second baking if it browns too much – the chocolate tart it was used for was in for an additional 15-20 mins.
Let me know if you try it out!
I have a similar question to Cindy’s– Is this crust suitable for apple pies and the like? Typically I put mine in the oven unbaked, but I can see where that might pose a problem with this crust. But it looks so delicious, I’m dying to try it!
Hi Prissy – now answered above 😀
I can’t wait to try this. Do you know why it doesn’t require eggs ?
Hi Maya, many traditional shortcrust pastry recipes don’t have any egg in them, just flour, fat and water 🙂
Priscilla @ foodpornnation.com says
That’s it. I’ll admit it. I’m in LOVE with your blog.
This recipe is genius!
You are too sweet ;D
This is similar to pate choux, or a version of it. It is essentially the same procedure, with the addition of eggs, for the preparation of cream puffs.
Yep, you are right, the texture on the final product is very different due to the absence of eggs though 🙂
This was an epic fail for me! I swear I followed the directions to a T, but when I mixed in the flour, it got crumbly instead of dough-y. After baking for 15 min it was more burnt than anything else.
I think I’ll stick to store bough dough!
Sorry to hear that, I’ve had nothing but good luck with it! Did you use real butter (not a spread or margarine)? Sounds like too much flour or too little fat. I wonder if your butter had a really high water content? Better luck next time
Lil C says
Just found you vua pinterest. This would be wonderful for a lemon tart. Can’t wait to try it. I hope it comes out as beautiful as yours. thank you!
This is an amazing pastry, so delicious and easy to make. It is much more flaky than any other pastry I have tried. It is a bit tricky to get it spread evenly and avoiding leaks or a soggy bottom for more runny fillings like lemon custard and I found less problems with leakage with thicker chocolate filling. I did try chilling it and it is easy to roll out once chilled, like a standard pastry but found it shrinks an awful lot (not too much shrinkage when not chilled) I didn’t weight it down with baking beans but don’t think it would have helped that much, so I don’t think you can really use it as a tart pastry if chilled. However, the taste is not affected after chilling and I made some mille-feuill as the flaky texture matches well. Do try the pastry you won’t be disappointed!
Laurie Pye says
Love this recipe, I use the microwave to heat the butter mixture works well. I roll out the pastry for covered pies as well and also press the dough into a glass baking for crumble topped apple crisps.
I was wondering if this is a suitable dough for mini tarts? Like in a muffin tin? If so for how long in the oven and at what temp if not the same? Thank you!
Hi Corena, I don’t see why not however as I’ve not used a muffin tin for it I wouldn’t know exact times – use the same temp, then start checking for a golden colour around 10 mins or so and go by your eyes and nose for when they’re finished! ~ JJ
I was wondering if the tart is actually baked at 210 degrees Celsius? My tart was very overdone cracked and dark brown – after 14 min. Should I have lowered my oven temp at some point?
Hi Amy, it is 210 C the whole time, it was listed on the original source recipe that way and is how I did it all the times I made it. Do you have a thermometer in your oven to ensure it is on-temp? I know my old oven was way off so I always had to go by the seperate internal thermometer rather than the temp gauge to get it set correctly!
Hannah S. says
I just made this for a lemon blueberry tart and it was delicious! It worked perfectly for me and it’s the best shortcrust I’ve ever tried. Highly recommend!
This is the easiest, flakiest crust ever. just tried it for the first time (but not the last) and it was fantastic! Just need a little practice getting it spread evenly Thank you for the recipe
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Could I use this for a pot pie or quiche?
Barbara Ward says
Definitely have to try this pastry! It is really intriguing me , will use it for a lemon Barbara wardmeringue pie I think! Thanks for all your helpful ideas !!