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Basic Tart Shell or Pâte Brisée

Basic Tart Shell or Pâte Brisée

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Pâte Brisée (pronounced paht bree-ZAY), is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry dough. You can see it mentioned as pie dough or savoury shortcrust dough.

The word pâte means dough and brisée means broken or cut-in, which is a method used, working solid shortening into dry ingredients with two knives or a pastry blender.

Rub-in is working solid shortening or butter into dry ingredients with fingers.

The butter is broken into pieces and rubbed with the fingers (it can also be done in a food processor) until it resembles coarse meal.  A little bit of cold water is then added to hold the dough together.

Pâte Sucrée (which means having sugar = sweet), is basically the same as Pâte Brisée but it has some confectioners’ sugar in the dough, which is added to the flour before rubbing in the cold butter and an egg to bind it together.

Pâte Sablée (which means sandy) is similar to Sucrée but has a higher sugar ratio than sucrée, which makes it more suitable for desserts.

So, to recap, Pâte Brisée is used to make savoury tarts, pies, quiches and more.  Adding a little sugar in the crust (Pâte Sucrée), you can make sweet pies, tarts, tartlettes, biscuits etc.

Instead of buying ready made tart shells which cost twice the price, you can make your own and it is much easier than you think, if you follow the basic instructions.

After making my first tart recipe with peaches I read more recipes about making tarts and since this one worked fine for me I decided to post the tart shell separately as I will be using it a lot in the future.

A few things to remember:

  • The basic pie crust ingredients are just four:  butter, flour, salt and water.
  • You should remember that you need two parts butter and three parts flour.  For example if you will add 200 grams butter you will need 300 grams flour.
  • The butter should always be cold.
  • If you will add sugar, you can either use crystal sugar or brown sugar.
  • If you want to flavour your pie crust, you can add vanilla, cinnamon, mastic powder, lemon zest etc.
  • You do not need to add much water.  Just enough to make the crumbles form into a ball.
  • You must not overwork the dough so as the butter will not melt.
  • You should refrigerate the dough before rolling it out.
  • Depending on the recipe, if the pie crust is blind baked, put some weights on it, so that the tart shell does not rise or shrink.
Basic tart shell photo

Basic Tart Shell or Pâte Brisée

Yield: 1 tart
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Pâte Brisée (pronounced paht bree-ZAY), is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry dough. You can see it mentioned as pie dough or savoury shortcrust dough.


  • 340 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar (if making a sweet crust)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more if your like it sweet) granulated white sugar ( skip for savory tarts)
  • 226 grams unsalted butter, chilled, grated on a box grater or cut into small pieces
  • Ice water (about 2 - 3 tbsp)


  1. Cut the butter into small pieces or grate it on a box grater.
  2. Sift the flour over the butter, add the salt (and sugar if you want to make a sweet crust) and rub it with your hands until the butter is absorbed and resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add the water gradually and mix until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. Flatten into a disk, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes before using 
  5. Brush your tart pan with butter.
  6. Turn the dough out on a non-stick mat or on parchment paper and cover it with the cling film.
  7. Roll out the dough to fit into your tart pan. With the silicon mat or parchment paper, it is easy to turn the pastry round as you are rolling, it never sticks on the counter, you do not have to flour your working surface and it is easy to flip it into the tart pan.
  8. Just move the cling film to cover the dough where you are rolling.
  9. When you have inverted the dough in the tart pan, cut off any dough, which is in excess, cover it with the cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180° C / 350° F (or 160° C / 320° F, if a convection oven) and place rack in centre of oven.
  11. Remove the cling film and line the unbaked pastry shell with the parchment paper.
  12. Cover with beans or any other similar weight, making sure that you distribute the beans evenly over the entire surface.
  13. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly browned.
  14. Remove the beans and cool crust.
  15. Proceed with desired recipe that calls for a pre-baked shell.


Do not discard the beans as you can use them to bake many more tarts.

Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 303Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 49mgSodium 120mgCarbohydrates 30gFiber 1gSugar 4gProtein 4g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!


Some more Sweet and Savoury Tarts

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores as well as through my website.

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Collage How to Make a Tart Shell image

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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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Jess and Brandon

Friday 13th of February 2015

It looks great and I bet is delicious. I can't wait to try this new recipe.


Monday 15th of September 2008

Ivy, very solid tutorial. Normally I eat and either get a pre-baked crust from the store or use a box mix but now I will know how to make my own.


Monday 15th of September 2008

Can't wait for the round-up. Meanwhile, I'm off to Bangkok for a little R&R. By the way, the fig cookies look great but the husband's just informed me (after 9 years!) that he doesn't really like figs. Hrumph!

Lubna Karim

Monday 15th of September 2008

Wow looks so simple to make. Thanks for sharing.


Monday 15th of September 2008

Mmmmm, I think that the savory pies' bug is in me ;D. It's not that hard, afterall!!! Thanks for the tips dear Ivy :D

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