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Old 04-29-2007, 11:17 AM   #1
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Need help - my Pate Brisee is like 'pate cement'

I'm trying to make Pate Brisee (Pie Dough), everytime I do it, the thing ends up very hard and brittle. It does however hold together. BUt it isn't nearly flaky enough.

Why is this? I keep trying different things but nothing works. I am using "French Desserts" by Laura Washburn's recipe.

Amazon.com: French Desserts: Books: Laura Washburn,Martin Brigdale

It's 1 1/2 cups flour; 7 tablespoons of butter; pinch of salt, two tsp. sugar.

Flour, salt, and sugar go in food processor, blend; butter goes in (cold and cut up), pulse 10 times or until blended (i use the 'pea' standard, butter should be no larger than a pea)

Then cold water goes on 3-4 tablespoons, process until it about comes into a ball. (I am very careful not to overprocess, but i never have understood when exactly to stop it)

Refrig 30-60 minutes (i wait the full hour).

Then I bake blind for 30 min. at 400F, then 5 min or so without the tin foil so it is uncovered.

WHy is the dough so tough, and hard? it's horrible.


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Old 04-29-2007, 11:33 AM   #2
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Are you "processing" ijn a machine? I can never get pastry right unless i hand combine, gently.

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Old 04-29-2007, 11:53 AM   #3
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I tried both all purpose flour, and whole wheat pastry flour.

I use the food processor.

Cooks Illustrated says the food processor works better.
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Old 04-29-2007, 12:25 PM   #4
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Make sure the butter and water are cold. Use water that has a couple ice cubes in it to assure it is cold enough. Also, make sure you don't over process. The whole mixing process (a total of the two stages of mixing) shouldn't even be a minute. Also, are you refrigerating your dough (wrapped in plastic) for at least 30 minutes to an hour before using?

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Old 04-29-2007, 01:11 PM   #5
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Yes I'm processing it as little as possible, but how do i know when to stop? I am refrigering it for an hour. Maybe I am blind baking it too much?
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Old 04-29-2007, 01:27 PM   #6
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Well, I bind by hand. I counsider it done, with my cold fingers, when everything is just bound and together. I have nver sed a whole wheat pastry flour. Once its bound, thats it, no more handling: that with make it tough. Its so hard to guess on line, bu if your ingrediants are cold, and your recipe is good I'm guessing it is over worked.
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:09 PM   #7
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Do you live in a dry climate your flour may be too dry and it needs a bit more water.The next thing is not all recipes are perfect and you may need to try a different recipe.It doesnt need to be a Pate Brisee you can just try to make a good TNT pie dough recipe it's the same thing.
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Old 04-29-2007, 05:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by scrambledeggs
Yes I'm processing it as little as possible, but how do i know when to stop?
You stop when you see the dough just beginning to hold together. Remove it from the processor and gently gather it together into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, pat it into a disc shape and refrigerate. Continue as your recipe directs. The key is to handle the dough as little as possible.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:51 AM   #9
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On observation, i don't think that's enough fat for that much flour.

Basic rule I follow is 8 T fat for 1 1/3 cup flour.

Try adding a teaspoon of vinegar to your ice water.

Also, according to America's Test Kitchen, it's better to err on the side of too much water mixed inot the flour than vice versa. They claim most people who have trouble with pie crust don't use enough water.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:55 AM   #10
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I used to work for Cuisinart teaching folks how to use their food processors... Katie's tips are spot on!

As well, I think Jenny's found the "flaw" inthe recipe... either more fat or less flour.

The only other thing I could think of was old flour. If you've had it sitting around for a long time, or if it was in the supermarket or warehouse and is old and/or super-dry... see what the date is on the package, and maybe start with some new product. Whole wheat pastry flour can make a great pie crust, but it WON'T be as flaky as a-p, and it has to be very fresh.

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