Showing posts with label sweet crust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sweet crust. Show all posts

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cleo Coyle's Perfect Sweet Pie Crust, Pâte Sucrée


"God will not look you over for medals,
degrees, or diplomas, but for scars."
~Elbert Hubbard*
*Thanks to Tom Howe
for the quote

To put it another way: Perfection is overrated. There is no "perfect" pie crust. My own crust--the very crust that looks so beautiful in these photos--ended up tearing in places as I transferred it from parchment paper to pan. To make it whole again, I patched it back together. But that's the beauty of pie crust. Easily fixable. A relief when so many other things in life--bones, hearts, feelings--are not so quick to mend.
But I digress...

This Sweet Pie or Tart Crust is my version of the classic French "sweet dough" or pâte sucrée. It is the perfect complement to my Fresh Strawberry Pie, which I wrote about two weeks ago...
In case you missed that post,click here for the Strawberry Pie recipe.
(The recipe will appear in PDF format.
Just save it or print it.)

As for the crust...
Oh, sure, you can purchase a pre-made pie dough in the refrigerator section of your local grocery. You know the kind I mean, right? Red box. Unroll two layers of dough....There are frozen pie shells in the freezer section, too. But there's a big problem with those pre-made crusts: They're not sweet crusts.
Despite its French pastry roots, this sweet crust is extremely easy to make and really delicious--a tender, sweet, buttery, shortbread-cookie-like moment of bliss. So if you need one (a blissful moment, that is), consider it--and these two final points...

THE TRICK TO ROLLING "PERFECT" PIE DOUGH: I don't know why some cookbooks tell you to roll dough out between pieces of wax paper. I did this on their recommendation, cursing my way to the ultimate solution: Parchment Paper. Wax paper only works if you use flour to prevent sticking--and excess flour will toughen your crust. So take my advice and plop your disc of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, drop another piece of parchment paper on top, and roll the dough out. Then slip the whole thing onto a cookie sheet, place it in the fridge for a few minutes, and the dough will harden up again. Now you can easily peel away the top layer of parchment paper and transfer the dough to a pie pan.

Blind baking used to freak me out. I thought it would be an extra step and a lot of trouble. It's not. It's incredibly easy, especially if you use this trick: buy flat-bottomed coffee filters. Just drop a paper coffee filter onto the dough, spread 1 cup of dried kidney beans on top of the filter to weight it and bake...(see my recipe for final instructions). Just make sure it's a flat-bottomed coffee filter. The cone shaped coffee filters won't work. (For those of you who don't brew or drink coffee, the shape of the paper filter is dictated by the particular drip coffee maker's basket shape. Look for paper coffee filters in the grocery store aisle where coffees and teas are sold.)
You can't believe I actually got a "coffee" connection in there, can you? Well,'s my recipe for "Pâte Sucrée" aka The "Perfect" Sweet Pie Crust...
"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
~Julia Child

To get Cleo's recipe for "Pâte Sucrée"
Sweet Pie or Tart Crust
This recipe will appear in PDF format.
You can save it to your computer or print it out.

If you'd like more of my recipes or would like to find out more about the books in my Coffeehouse Mystery series, then click over to my virtual home at

Eat with joy!

~Cleo Coyle
"Where coffee and crime are always brewing...

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