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Basic Tart Shell or Pâte Brisée

pasta frolla


Pâte Brisée is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry.  It can be used to make sweet or savoury pies.  Instead of buying ready made tart shells which cost twice the price, you can make your own and it is much easier than you think, if you follow the basic instructions.

After making my first tart recipe with peaches I read more recipes about making tarts and since this one worked fine for me I decided to post the tart shell separately as I will be using it a lot in the future.

A few things to remember:

  • You should remember that you need double amount of flour to butter.  For example if you will add 250 grams flour you will need 500 grams flour.
  • The basic pie crust ingredients are just four:  butter, flour, salt and water.
  • The butter should always be cold.
  • If you will add sugar, you can either use crystal sugar or brown sugar.
  • If you want to flavour your pie crust, you can add vanilla, cinnamon, mastic powder, lemon zest etc.
  • You do not need to add much water.  Just enough to make the crumbles form into a ball.
  • You must not overwork the dough so as the butter will not melt.
  • You should refrigerate the dough before rolling it out.

Basic Tart Shell or Pâte Brisée

Makes two – 9 inch (23 cm) tart shells.


  • 450 grams (about 3 1/4) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (or more if your like it sweet) granulated white sugar ( skip for savory tarts)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into small pieces
  • Ice water (about 2 – 3 tbsp)


  1. In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour water in a slow, steady stream until the dough just holds together when pinched. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
  2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface on parchment paper (you will need this later on) and gather it into a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, flatten each piece into a disk, cover with cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. At this point you can also freeze the second dough for later use.
  3. Place the dough back on the parchment paper and flatten with your hands.Cover with parchment or cling film and roll out the dough to fit into your tart pan. With the parchment paper it is easy to turn the pastry round as you are rolling, it never sticks on the counter, no flour is required to be added and it is easy to flip into the tart pan.
  4. When you have inverted the dough in the tart pan, cut off any dough, which is in excess, prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes).
  5. Cover with the same cling film you used and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter.

Spinach and Mushroom Tart with Buffalo cheese and butter

For baking the tart shell:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ο C / 350ο  F and place rack in centre of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with the parchment paper you have already used and cover with beans or any other similar weight, making sure the beans are evenly distributed over the entire surface.  Cut any excess parchment paper.
  2. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove beans and cool crust on wire rack.
  3. Proceed with desired recipe that calls for a pre-baked shell.

Note:  Do not discard the beans as you can use them to bake many more tarts.

Update:  24th August 2013

Today when I decided to make a Fig and Cheese Tart, which will be my next recipe, I decided to record the procedure into a video.  This is my second video and you have to excuse me for some mistakes I have made which will be pointed out in the post.  Instead of saying 185 grams butter, I mentioned 85 and forgot to mention the 2 tbsp cold water added to the dough.  The tart pan I am using is different from the one I used in the previous recipe, so I made the exact amount I needed for a 25 cm / 10 inch tart pan.

In the recipe I grated the butter and used what remained on the butter wrapping to butter my tart pan.  Butter which was leftover on the grater was removed by sprinkling flour and rubbing it until butter fell off the grater.

Finally, I like flavouring my tart shells and usually I add vanilla or masticha.  In this recipe I used masticha but you can skip it if you don’ t want to flavour it.

How to make Tart Shell

Masticha Tart Shell, recipe by Ivy

Makes:  1 for 25 cm / 10 inch tart pan

Yields:  about 10 servings


  • 185 grams about 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and grated
  • 370 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ice water, plus more if needed
  • 1 tsp pounded masticha powder
  • ½ egg white


  1. Grate the butter in a big bowl.  Use the flour to clean your grater on both sides.  Add remaining flour, sugar, masticha powder and salt and mix until flour is absorbed from butter.  Do not over work as butter will melt.  Add  water and mix until the crumbles form the dough.
  2. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Put a sheet of parchment paper on your work surface.
  4. Unfold the cling film and flip over the dough on the parchment paper.  Keep the cling film to cover the dough when rolling.
  5. Using a roller pin, roll out the pastry bigger than your tart pan, around 30 cm / 12 inch and make a round shell so as to cover the sides of your baking tart pan.  Remove the dough with the help of the parchment paper and flip it over to your tart pan.
  6. If it does not turn out perfect, cut pieces of dough, place them where needed, put the parchment paper on top and with your hands press the dough to cover the whole tart pan.
  7. Add some weight on top (I used my beans) and cut the parchment around your pan.
  8. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes..
  9. Preheat the oven to 180ο C / 350ο  F  and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden if the shell will be used for a filling which does not need further baking.
  10. If you will be baking with the filling, remove the shell after 15 minutes.  Whisk the egg lightly with a fork and brush the shell.  (This is done so that tart shell is sealed and the fluid ingredients added do not make the tart shell soggy).
  11. If you want more help, watch the video to see how I made the tart shell.

Recipe for Fig & Peach Anthotyro Cheese Tart :

Fig Cheese Tart2

You can find my Greek recipes in my cookbooks «More Than A Greek Salad», and«Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!» both available on all Amazon stores. Read more here.


Other related Recipes:

Apple Pie and Apple Tart

Chocolate and Quince Tart

Spinach & Mushroom Tart with Buffalo Butter & Cheese

Bacon Quiche or Quiche Lorraine



Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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14 Responses

  1. wow…thxs for sharing… looks gud..

  2. Thanks for this basic tart shell recipe sis. Looks like more pies are in your future:D

  3. Ivy

    I am not an expert on this but it worked well, so I want to have it to link to it whenever I post a tart and you are right I’ve already made a couple. I am sure that you are an expert on this so if you have any tips please let me know.

  4. Pate brisee was my first ever pie crust from scratch, and I keep going back to it. It’s the best! Looks great, Ivy!

  5. Ivy

    Thanks Elly.

  6. Ivy,

    I have been very busy over the past month and I did not subscribe to your new RSS feed for the new site and I just now see that I have missed many of your new postings! It will take me some time to go through all of them, so now I will start with thanking you for the basic pie shell recipe. Looks like a good job indeed!!!

  7. Thanks for the tutorial Ivy! I just made my savory pie tonight. It was really good!

  8. I wanted to participate in your event and was thinking how to do it…. since I never baked a pie 😉

    Thanks for sharing the tips and tricks of making it…. now I can go ahead and do it… so wait for my recipe, will try to send it soon 😀

  9. Wow looks so simple to make. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ivy

    Thank you all for commenting. Hope this will be useful for you.

  11. Mmmmm, I think that the savory pies’ bug is in me ;D. It’s not that hard, afterall!!!
    Thanks for the tips dear Ivy 😀

  12. Dee

    Can’t wait for the round-up. Meanwhile, I’m off to Bangkok for a little R&R.
    By the way, the fig cookies look great but the husband’s just informed me (after 9 years!) that he doesn’t really like figs. Hrumph!

  13. Ivy, very solid tutorial. Normally I eat and either get a pre-baked crust from the store or use a box mix but now I will know how to make my own.

  14. It looks great and I bet is delicious. I can’t wait to try this new recipe.