Pâte sablée

This recipe is in sufficient quantity for at least two 25 cm pastry cases. It keeps well in the fridge for up to a week and also freezes well.

Ingredients

  • 500 g plain flour
  • 100 g freshly ground almonds
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 380 g butter, cut into small dice
  • 1 egg and 2 egg yolks

Method

Put the flour, almonds, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a mixer with a dough hook and work on medium speed for a few seconds. Add the butter and work at the same speed for a few more seconds (the butter should be imperfectly incorporated at this stage). Add the egg and the egg yolks, and continue working until a dough is formed.

The name for this pastry in French is ‘pâte sablée’, which translates literally as ‘sandy pastry’. It has a very crumbly texture which is destroyed by overworking it, so please run the machine just enough to unite all the ingredients in a vaguely homogeneous ball. Form the dough into a cylinder 4-5 cm in diameter, and clingfilm until needed.

This dough can be made perfectly well in a food processor, but my comments on not working it too much apply even more. Perhaps the best way of achieving a marvellous result is to do it all by hand.

Forming Pastry Cases

When the dough has had at least 2 hours in the fridge, remove and allow to warm a little at room temperature (20 minutes). Lightly butter your loose-based tart case (also known as a flan ring and not to be confused with a springform cake tin). Cut thin slices from the roll of dough and place these in the case. As soon as you have cut enough to cover the base and sides, start to press the pastry until all the circles have joined up. Press well on the sides or wall of the case and then trim any that protrudes over the rim. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

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