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Basic Tart Crust: Pate Sablee

The standard pastry traditionally used to make French-style tart shells. 

For more information on making a great tart shell, visit the cooking class that inspired this recipe.

Makes enough pastry for one 8-inch or 9-inch tart pan.


8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Up to 1 Tablespoon milk or cream



1. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.  Gradually beat in the sugar, creaming the butter and sugar together until light. Add the egg yolk and beat to combine.

The term "pâte sablée" means “sandy pastry” in French. This is because Pâte Sablée is a bit crumbly in texture after baking, like a cookie, rather than flaky like a standard Pâte Brisée pie crust. 

2. Combine the flour and salt in a separate bowl, whisking to combine. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the bowl. Add just enough of the milk or cream to enable the mixture to clump together in one mass, but not enough to make it wet. A dough that is too wet will be very difficult to work with later on.  The exact amount needed may vary each time you make this. The consistency should be like a slightly dry cookie dough. Turn off the mixer.

3. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the pastry dough onto the middle of it. Put another sheet on top and press the dough into a flat disk (to make it easier to roll out later). Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

Make-ahead note - You can store Pâte Sablée in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.