Pate Brisee a l’Oeuf pastry crust is known as one of the, if not the, finest pastry crusts to be found. Made with all butter and, if made correctly, it will be flaky and crisp yet tender. The word pate means pie and a l’oeuf means with egg.
The use of the food processor almost guarantees a perfect pastry crust. The key is not to over mix or it won’t be flaky – tasty, but not flaky. The butter must be very, very cold. Put it in the freezer after cutting if desired. It is important to keep the pieces of butter in pea size chunks when processing with the flours. While speaking of flours, I have used both all purpose and cake flour to make pastry flour which has a lower gluten or protein count. This will make a more tender pastry crust. A two to one ratio of all purpose to cake flour is what we used at the bakery for our pastry flour as we lacked the room to store another canister of flour and we didn’t use it that often.
Two tablespoons of egg is one half of a large egg. Mix it well so the yolk and white are throughly combined so it divides well. The egg will help keep the pastry crust crisp while the lemon juice will tenderize it and help keep it from becoming tough. Make sure the water is ice water. I usually put a few ice cubes in a half cup of water while I prepare the other ingredients.
You might have noticed everything is kept very cold and that is how it should be. If, at any point, the pastry crust warms, scoop it up and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
When it comes from the processor, the pastry crust should be in lots crumbs. You are going to push these together to make a dough. As you do you will see bits of butter throughout the dough. This is very important. As long as the butter stays really cold when it hits the heat of the oven, it will melt under the heat, causing steam that will lift the dough into layers.
If the pastry crust is being baked blind (without a filling), prick the shell well with a fork. Chill it very well. Spray a piece of foil that will fill the shell completely and place it, sprayed side down, into the pastry crust. Fill it to the top with beans to hold the crust in place and bake for abut 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake until the bottom is set. If the pastry crust is to be completely done, bake until medium golden brown.
The salmon tart came about when we had some of the absolutely most delicious poached salmon left after a party. I was asked to do something with it. The salmon tart mated perfectly with the pate brisee a l’oeuf pastry crust. I’ve made it several time since. I’m beginning to think they have leftovers on purpose! But it’s well worth making.
This pastry crust can be used in quiches and tarts, sweet or savory. However, it not sturdy enough for an American pie.
Pate Brisee a l’Oeuf Pastry Crust
7 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces and frozen (105 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (85 grams or 3 ounces)
1/3 cup cake flour (40 grams or 1 1/4 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon beaten egg
1 teasoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons ice water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a processor bowl fitted with the steel blade, combine the flours and salt; process briefly to mix. Add the butter and place in a circle over the flours. Pulse until the butter is cut into large pieces.
Mix the egg, lemon juice and ice water. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and pulse until it lumps together in its about the size of peas. Do not over-procress and especially don’t let it form a ball. Pour it out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour and push together into a ball. Form into a thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
Roll into a round about 11 inches.Place it in a 9×2 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.Seat it into the edges by lowering the pastry into the shell and pulling the edge toward the center of the pan. Seat the pastry into the edges making sure it is at a 90 degree angle.Continue around the pan until the pastry is well seated into the pan. Remove the excess dough with the palm of your hand pressed against the top of the pan. Refigerate about 30 minutes or until it is firm. In the meantime while the crust if chilling prepare the salmon filling.
Salmon Filling 1 to 1/4 pounds poached or roasted salmon fillet
3/4 cup red pepper
3/4 cup yellow pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup frozen spinach, squeezed dry (10 oz. chopped spinach, thawed)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup parmesan or sharp asiago cheese
1 1/2 cups half and half
Poach or roast the salmon. Chill. Remove the skin and any brown under the skin.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes minutes until deeply browned and set. Let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before cutting.