I stumbled across a great cooking and baking site after reading one recipe after another and then another. The site’s author is David Lebovitz and the blog is about his cooking adventures in Paris called Living the Sweet Life in Paris. I was intrigued by a pastry dough recipe he claimed “couldn’t be easier to make, or more interesting, and yielded a wonderfully flaky, buttery dough.”
What is French Pastry Dough?
French Pastry Dough, or French Tart Dough, is made by adding the flour to almost browned, melted butter and water and then formed into a shell or pie mold.
Reading the recipe gave me flashbacks of making a pate a choux for my gruyere puffs, where the flour is beaten into the hot liquid quickly, although without the eggs in this one. Surprisingly there is no rolling out dough with chilled butter here, I was hooked and had to try it.
I didn’t have a Pyrex bowl big enough so I broke out my trusted Pampered Chef 2 quart batter bowl because you can mix, store, reheat and bake in this heavy duty tempered glass bowl. Due to the fact you can’t use this in the oven over 350°F I thought I’d use the microwave instead and see where it took me. It worked out great and the recipe was a breeze to execute with minimal effort.
Here it is, barely adapted from David Lebovitz as he learned it from his cooking friend Paule Caillat, a woman who teaches cooking classes in Paris at Promenades Gourmandes. I doubled the recipe as I was using 6 individual tart shells for a party instead of the one 9 inch tart pan he described. I used these for my Chocolate Salted Caramel Tarts.
French Pastry Dough
- Flakiest Pastry Ever
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 2 tbsp oil
- 6 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 410°F. Measure out your flour and keep in a bowl, set aside.
- In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
- The original recipe called for placing the bowl in a 410°F oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges. I used the microwave on high for 8 minutes.
- When done, remove the bowl from oven, dump in the flour and stir it in quickly with a wooden spoon until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Using a ice cream scoop I transferred the dough to 6 individual small tart shells.
- Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold.
- Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
- Let cool and spread with any filling you like.