Monday, June 18, 2012

The Ultimate Pastry Shell

I am here today to share my go-to pastry crust.  The result is flaky, buttery, perfect in every way, and otherwise fantastic.  It's sturdy enough to stand up to almost six cups of quiche filling yet delicate enough to be the perfect base for a tart.  It is not healthy, low fat, or gluten free but it is extremely reliable and I don't think I could do my job as well without it.

The recipe is originally from Thomas Keller (of French Laundry fame, and coincidentally my old boss...).  I believe it was first published in the Bouchon cookbook, though it is now available on the the Food & Wine website (  The text here is from that site.  

This recipe is a bit different in method than the standard crust, but if you follow these instructions exactly (in other words, do not deviate, and for the love of whomever, do not skip the part about draping the crust over the sides while blind baking!), you will end up with a pastry that trumps most.  

For 1- 9" shell

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup ice water
Canola oil, for brushing

-In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix 1 cup of the flour with the salt. At low speed, add the butter pieces, a handful at a time. When all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is completely incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining 1 cup of flour just until blended. Mix in the water just until thoroughly incorporated. Flatten the pastry into an 8-inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight.

-Set the ring of a 9-inch springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving the hinge open. Brush the inside of the ring with oil.
-Dust the pastry on both sides with flour. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 16-inch round, about 3/16 inch thick. Carefully roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared ring, pressing it into the corners. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch and press it firmly against the outside of the ring. Use the trimmings to fill any cracks, saving some scraps for later patching. Refrigerate the shell for 20 minutes.
-Preheat the oven to 375°. Line the pastry shell with a 14-inch round of parchment paper; fill the shell with dried beans or rice. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the edge of the dough is lightly browned. Remove the parchment and beans and continue baking the pastry shell for about 15 minutes longer, or until richly browned on the bottom. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the pastry cool. Fill any cracks with the reserved pastry dough.

If you want to proceed and make a quiche, this is the base I use, adding a generous two cups of seasonal sauteed veggies to the mix.

3/4 cup shredded cheese
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg

-Preheat the oven to 325°. Scatter 1/4 cup of the cheese and half of the veggies evenly over the bottom of the Buttery Pastry Shell. In a blender, mix half each of the milk, cream and eggs and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Pour the custard into the pastry shell. Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese and the remaining veg. Make a second batch of custard with the remaining milk, cream and eggs, plus the same amount of salt, pepper and nutmeg as before and pour into the shell. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top.

  1. -Bake the quiche for about 1 1/2 hours, or until richly browned on top and the custard is barely set in the center. Let cool in the pan until very warm.
  2. -Using a serrated knife, cut the pastry shell flush with the top of the pan. Carefully lift the springform pan ring off the quiche. Cut the quiche into wedges, transfer to plates and serve warm.  You can also chill or freeze this quiche with good results.  

  3. One quiche of this dimension will make about 12 servings.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds deLISH! Everything Jasmine does is delicious! Speaking of, there are still a couple of seats open in her Southern France Cuisine class on July 27th!