Of the three basic French tart doughs (the others being savory pâte brisée and sweet pâte sucrée), Lafayette's Tyler Atwell describes pâte sablée as the pâte with the softest crumb, praising its high quantity of butter and low ratio of eggs. The pastry chef turns to this versatile dough you'll learn how to make here for any number of desserts, be it a chocolate pudding pie or simple shortbread cookie.
Anything goes with this dough: Cut it into rounds or various shapes, glaze or sugar the tops, or use it to sandwich ganache or cream fillings. Have fun with the flavor profile by substituting the almond flour for equal parts pistachio, peanut or hazelnut flour. For a citrus hit, add the zest of two lemons when making the dough. And for a floral variation, add one teaspoon of rose water, then either mix crumbled dehydrated rose petals into the dough or sprinkle them on top.
To learn more, read "Just Dough It."
Shortbread Crust (Pâte Sablée)
Recipe adapted from Tyler Atwell, Lafayette, New York, NY
Yield: 2 pounds of dough (about 30 to 40 cookies)
Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus chilling time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes, plus chilling time
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, room-temperature butter
1⅓ cups confectioners' sugar
½ cup almond flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, almond flour and salt on medium speed until well incorporated and creamy.
2. Add the eggs slowly, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add the flour and mix until the flour is no longer visible, being careful to not overmix. Remove from the mixer.
3. Shape the dough into a rectangle and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling out (for more detail on the chilling process, read this).
4. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough to a ¼-inch thickness, then place in the refrigerator again for 15 minutes, or until it firms up. Cut into desired shape, place on the prepared baking sheet an inch apart from each other and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges. Then serve.