The perfect Pâte Sablée, French tart crust

by admin
Pâte Sablée

Pâte Sablée is one of the most special French pastries! You might refer to it as shortcrust, sweet short pastry, sweet tart crust, or simply a tart shell. No matter how you prefer to call it, this tart crust recipe it is one of the basics worth mastering as a home baker to create professional looking beautiful French pastries.

Pâte Sablée is a delicious, buttery shortcrust, sweet but not too sweet melt in the mouth pastry shell that turns desserts into fancy French patisserie like goodness no matter where you live in the world! Learn how to make it today!

Pâte Sablée

What is Pâte Sablée?

Pâte Sablée is a French sweet pastry dough that is used to make classic delicious French dessert such as a fruit tart, lemon tart, chocolate tart etc. Unlike flaky pie crust (my recipe in here) this is more crispy and biscuit like. The sweet tart crust (shortcrust) recipe contains only a few basic ingredients – like butter, sugar and flour – yet can be the base of the fanciest, most amazing tartlets. The process involves baking the tart shell separately then filling it with your favorite fillings. Please note that my Pâte Sablée is made without blind baking!

There are two important factors you have to take into considerations when making Pâte Sablée shortcrust; 1. understanding and learning the right technique and 2.having the right equipment. If want to master how to make your own tart shell and bake like a professional Pâtissier continue reading!

Pâte Sablée

What is a tart?

A tart is a freestanding, shallow open-faced pastry often baked in a tart ring with fluted or straight sides. Smaller tarts are referred to as tartlets. Lemon tart, fruit tart, chocolate tart, coffee tart, caramel tart…you name it! Tarts and tartlets are one of the most popular pastries all around the world!

Making Pâte Sablée, sweet shortcrust tart shell is one of the baking basics worth mastering for every home baker! An useful and beautiful baking skill that can turn any desserts into professional looking pastries that will impress everyone!

Coffee tart
my coffee tartlet – recipe in here

My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers making French tart

  1. Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking. A recipe alone not able to call out all the details that you need to pay attention to while baking therefore most of my recipes contain important information about ingredients and technique
  2. Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. In general, replacing egg, using gluten-free flour etc. will all have an impact on baking this shortcrust
  3. For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method if you want consistent results
  4. Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
  5. Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking shortcrust desserts
Raspberry tart
my raspberry tartlet – recipe in here

Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Pâte Sablée, sweet shortcrust recipe

  1. Flour: I am using pastry flour for this tart shell recipe, feel free to use AP if can’t find pastry flour in your local supermarket. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
  2. Almond: Some Pâte Sablée recipes contain almond, some don’t, I prefer mine with some almond flour in it from taste and texture point of view. It is worth to buy good quality ground almond, without skin. Almond can be replaced with hazelnut, walnut, pistachio flour too
  3. Sugar: This shortcrust is made with a small amount of icing sugar that makes the tart case sweet but not overly sweet. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
  4. Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients. This is a sweet tart dough and I just love that extra very mild salty kick at the end
  5. Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be on room temperature, this is an exception and you have to take it very seriously. Butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it.
  6. Egg: Room temperature as always. Egg can´t be left out or replaced unless you have the knowledge to totally reformulate the recipe

As you can see this shortcrust recipe is a super simple recipe in terms of the ingredients. The secret behind making beautiful, neat and delicious tart crust is all about mastering the technique, understanding how temperature plays in role while working with the dough and using the right equipment. Keep on reading!

Pâte Sablée

6 tips regarding the TECHNIQUE of making this Pâte Sablée recipe

1. Creaming or Crumbling method is better to make sweet shortcrust

There are 2 main methods in the pastry chefs’ world making tart shell; one is creaming, the other is crumbling. With creaming method the butter is on room temperature and first needs to be creamed with icing sugar then you mix in the rest of the ingredients.

In case of crumbling method, first you mix the dry ingredients (flour, almond flour, salt) then add in very cold butter in cubes. Then, you need to rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a “crumbly” = sand like consistency before adding in egg.

I am sharing the crumbling method with you in this recipe, which is my preference for one single reason; as the butter used while it’s very cold, overall it makes the shortcrust dough cooler meaning easier to work with. And that brings us to the next important topic.

Pâte Sablée
crumbling

2. The importance of temperature while making Pâte Sablée tartlet

When I started experimenting with baking, I had several disastrous attempts making tart shell. Now I understand that the one and only reason I failed was me being inpatient and forcing the dough even when its temperature was inappropriate.

Baking is science and in general temperature is one of the most important factors to understand AND utilise for our benefit. When I say temperature I don’t purely mean baking temperature but also the environment we work e.g kitchen temperature as well as the dough temperature.

While making sweet tart crust, temperature is everything! If the dough is too hot, it’s sticky and can’t be rolled out or shaped. If too cold, it will easily break. The entire tart making process is a balancing exercise between keeping the dough cold enough but not too cold.

To give you a concrete example, in a home kitchen environment on a warmer day this practically means taking the dough in and out of the freezer about 15 times in between steps to ensure the dough is always on the right temperature to work with. If you are lucky and have a cold kitchen, you might be ok with 2-5 chilling breaks. Yes, not just to chill the dough once or twice but to be in control of the dough temperature all the time! Obviously in professional kitchens temperature as well as humidity is under control and the rolling process is done by a laminator machine, however in home environment this is something we have to be super careful with.

Pâte Sablée
Dough needs to be cold enough but not too cold to be able to handle (these stripes will be the sides of the tart shells)

3. What is blind baking and how to avoid it

Baking blind is the process of baking a pie or tart crust without the filling. It’s done by lining the tart tin with parchment paper and filling with eg. baking bean. Frankly, it’s a half solution only and while it certainly prevents the crust from puffing up while it bakes, it does not provide even baking. Blind making makes the tart crust somewhat unappealing, full of wrinkles as I call it and baked uneven.

My recipe DOES NOT involve blind baking and that brings us to the next important topic!

Pâte Sablée
This Pâte Sablée recipe is made without blind baking

4. What equipment is needed to make Pâte Sablée tart shell

I am not paid to say the below, I am only talking about my experience after trying a lot of different baking products. You can achieve neat, visually appealing, even golden colour tart crust by using professional baking equipment. Luckily these are available to purchase on Amazon not just for professionals but also for home bakers. If you want to make beautiful, patisserie style tarts it’s worth to invest into a perforated baking mat, a couple of perforated tart rings and a silicon mat.

Silicone baking mat

I recommend using Silicone baking mat for rolling the pastry dough out in between them. The recipe is designed in a way that you do not need to add extra flour while rolling the dough however it might stick to your kitchen counter so use silicone baking mat. It’s also possible to use 2 sheets parchment paper however the silicone mat provides a much neater, smooth surface. It can be washed and then used all the time so overall worth the investment. I am using the “Amazon basics” cheapest version so no need to buy anything expensive.

While rolling, start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions. Again remember, temperature is very important. If the dough is too cold, you won´t be able to roll it out. If too warm, it will be difficult to handle and will even stick to the silicone baking mat.

Pâte Sablée
roll the dough in between two silicone baking mat so it won´t stick

Perforated baking “air” mat

The air mat is perfect for baking tart crust, éclairs or even cookies. Thanks to the holes in the mat, the heat spreads evenly throughout mats’ surface guaranteeing a perfect and even baking without blind baking. The dough won´t puff up while baking the tarts and will be super neat and evenly.

While baking the tart shells, use the Perforated “air” baking mat straight on top of the oven rack (so not in a baking pan) so that the air can circulate properly. I have been using Perforated “air” baking mat for more than a year now from a brand called Silikomart and loving it.

Pâte Sablée
tarts ready to be baked on perforated baking mat

Perforated tart ring

The Perforated tart rings are non-stick and stainless, they allow homogeneous baking due to the even air circulation. It’s a a genius solution, isn’t it? Silikomart (and some other quality brands) offering the rings in various shapes and sizes, I am using a 8cm (3,14inch) diameter round version. As far as I can see there are several cheap copies of the initial Silikomart product, I am not sure though whether they are made of the same material and whether they work or not.

No need to grease the tart rings for this shortcrust recipe, the dough will stick to its side providing a very neat looking beautiful tart shell. I have been using my Perforated tart ring for over a year and it’s the best investment I have ever made.

I can not recommend it enough, it’s really one of those tools you have to invest in once and then will change your baking experience forever!

Tart ring
perforated tart rings are the biggest kitchen hacks of the 21st century:)

5. How to avoid tart shrinking while in the oven

Have you ever experienced shrinking, sad looking tarts while baking? Again, 3 things to remember: temperature, technique and equipment.

In terms of temperature, you have to freeze the shortcrust dough before baking as that will ensure that the dough keeps its shape while baking. Also make sure your oven temp is correct, highly recommended to use a Digital oven thermometer.

In regards to technique, you must not force the dough while placing it into the tart rings. First cut the bottoms out with the help of the actual tart ring then out long strips – this will be the side of the tart shell. Make sure the side of the tart is carefully but firmly pressed onto the side of the Perforated tart ring so it won´t fall while baking. If it does (it should not), quickly open the oven door and press it back with your finger.

Last but not least, use the right equipment; while using Perforated tart ring,  the dough somewhat sticks to the side of the ring as opposed to shrinking like in case of non-perforated rings. I would not bake tarts without my perforated tart rings!

Pâte Sablée
perfectly baked tart shells ready to be filled

6. Process of making this Pâte Sablée shortcrust tart shell

Now that we covered all the important WHAT and WHY, let´s see How exactly to make sweet shortcrust for your favorite tartlets.

  • Make sure all ingredients are measured with Digital scale and prepare all the tools ahead:Rolling pin, Silicone baking mat, Perforated “air” baking mat, Perforated tart ring
  • Place the measured butter cubes into the freezer for 5-10 minutes
  • Sift together dry ingredients; flour, icing sugar, almond, salt, mix so they are combined properly
  • Add very cold butter cubes to dry ingredients and rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a sand like consistency. This will take about 3 minutes, make sure you do not spend too much time with this step as butter can easily warm up and that is something we want to avoid
  • Add egg into the mixture and mix with your hands just until the dough comes together. First it might look crumbly but do not add more wet or dry ingredients to the recipe instead gently knead the dough with the palm of your hand for a minute or two (do not over knead and do not use mixer) just until the dough becomes smooth
  • If the dough is too warm and sticky, place it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes first. Otherwise continue with rolling the dough out into 2mm thickness between two Silicone baking mat. The recipe quantity is designed in a way that once you roll the dough out it will reach the silicone baking mat from edge to edge
  • Place the dough into the freezer for 10-15 min in between the two Silicone baking mat. Do not remove the mat at this point as the dough might stick to the mat while it is warm and it would break the dough
  • Prepare your oven rack with the Perforated “air” baking mat and Perforated tart rings on top
  • Take the dough sheet out from the freezer, remove the top of the silicone mat, and using one of the Perforated tart rings, cut out 8 circles – this will be the bottom of your tart crust. Carefully move the dough circles with the help of an Offset spatula and place them into the rings one by one
  • If at any point the dough gets too warm to work with, pop it back into the freezer for 5 minutes. You might need take the dough in and out of the freezer a lot of times but that is fine, don´t try to force the dough while it is warm. It is extremely important to work with a dough which is cold enough to be able to handle (so not sticky) but not too cold which would result in breaking it
  • Cut 8 long stripes out of the dough, this will be the side of the tart
  • Carefully place the stripes into the ring one by one. Press each stripe onto the side of the rings so it sticks to it. Again make sure you work with a dough that is cold enough but not frozen as that would make impossible to place it into the tart ring without breaking it
  • Place the Perforated tart ring with the pastry dough in them into the freezer for 1 hour
  • Pre-heat oven to 160C / 320F
  • After 1 hour take the pastry dough with the rings on them out and trim them with a sharp knife
  • Bake for 20 min then carefully remove the rings. Once you take the tarts out of the oven wait for a minute or two for the pastry to somewhat contract within the ring then you will be able to easily remove the rings. If ring seems to stuck onto your pastry it means probably you will need to bake it for a few more minutes
  • Once tart rings are removed, bake the tart cases for another few minutes. The tarts will be ready baked already after a few minutes however if you wish to bake it until golden brown then bake it for another 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet if necessary. Let them cool on the Perforated “air” baking mat before filling them
Pâte Sablée
pop where cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients
Pâte Sablée
rub the mixture between your hands until sand like consistency
Pâte Sablée
add egg then knead with your hands for 1-2 minutes
Pâte Sablée
dough after kneading, ready to be rolled out
Pâte Sablée
dough rolled out in between two silicone baking mat
Pâte Sablée
cut out 8 circles – this will be the bottom of your tart crust
Pâte Sablée
cut out 8 stripes for the side of the tart – gently press it into the side of the tart ring
Pâte Sablée
trim the top before baking

Recipes to use Pâte Sablée tart crust

Creamy Raspberry tart – This Raspberry tart recipe is an ideal balance between buttery, melt in your mouth shortcrust pastry and silky raspberry ganache with full of natural raspberry flavour

Triple Hazelnut nut with gold chocolate disk decoration – This Triple hazelnut tart recipe is a dream for hazelnut lovers but what makes it even more special is the gold chocolate disk decoration melted on top! Contrasting layers of melt in your mouth hazelnut Pâte Sablée tartlet shell, silky hazelnut ganache, crunchy hazelnut .. a super complex dessert experience that is much easier to make than it might sound!

Strawberry Pistachio tart – This Strawberry Pistachio tart consist of Pâte Sablée sweet shortcrust pastry filled with silky Pistachio ganache and topped with delicious fresh strawberries. Beautiful contrast of rich and nutty Pistachio ganache and refreshing fruit in a buttery, sweet but not too sweet melt in the mouth pastry shell.

Fig Frangipane tart – Pâte Sablée (sweet shortcrust) filled with a incredible delicious, easy almond cream (frangipane) and a slice of fig is what makes this tart a truly amazing autumn recipe! The Franginape tarts are sweet, fruity and nutty at the same time

Coffee tart – Pâte Sablée filled with Coffee ganache and decorated with cream that makes it effectively a Cappuccino Tart. A must make for Coffee lovers!

Caramelized banana & Caramel tart – This Caramelized banana and Caramel Tart is the perfect easy yet fancy dessert you can make at home and impress everyone ! The tart has 3 elements: Home made Pâte Sablée (sweet shortcrust) tart shell, 5 minutes caramelized banana layer, super quick and easy 3 ingredients caramel layer on top

Lemon meringue tart – This Lemon meringue tart recipe is a decorative, individual dessert version of the well know lemon meringue pie. I love how the sweet and silky Swiss meringue complements the tangy and creamy lemon curd

Passion fruit & Chocolate tart – If you have not tried pairing passion fruit and chocolate before, you are missing out, they are truly match made in heaven! Silky & rich chocolate ganache meets floral & tropical yet tangy passion fruit curd in this Chocolate Pâte Sablée tart shell!

Salted caramel & Chocolate tart – This Salted caramel chocolate tart is one of my favoruite tarts ever! Salted caramel and Chocolate are match made in heaven… It just tastes phenomenal as the buttery caramel with slight salty kick meets the silky chocolate ganache! 

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Pâte Sablée

RECIPE CARD – Pâte Sablée sweet short pastry

4.72 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cook Time: 1 hour
Waiting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 90 g Icing sugar
  • 230 g Pastry flour AP works too
  • 30 g Almond flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 110 g Unsalted butter very cold cut into cubes
  • 50 g Egg approx. 1 egg

US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.

Instructions

  • Sift together dry ingredients; flour, icing sugar, almond, salt
  • Add very cold butter cubes and rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a sand like consistency
  • Add egg into the mixture and mix with your hands just until the dough comes together
  • Knead with the palm of your hand for a minute or two (do not over knead and do not use mixer) just until the dough becomes smooth
  • If the dough is too warm and sticky, place it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes first. Otherwise continue with rolling the dough out into 2mm thickness between two Silicone baking mat.
  • Place the dough into the freezer for 15 min in between the two Silicone baking mat.. Do not remove the mat at this point
  • Prepare your oven rack with the Perforated "air" baking mat and Perforated tart rings on top
  • Take the dough out from the freezer, remove the top of the silicone mat and using one of the Perforated tart rings, cut out 8 circles – this will be the bottom of your tart crust. Carefully move the dough circles with the help of an Offset spatula and place them into the rings one by one
  • If at any point the dough gets too warm to work with, pop it back into the freezer for 5 minutes. You might need take the dough in and out of the freezer many times depending on the temp of your kitchen. It is extremely important to work with a dough which is cold enough to be able to handle (so not sticky) but not too cold which would result in breaking it
  • Cut 8 long stripes out of the dough, this will be the side of the tart
  • Carefully place the stripes into the ring one by one. Press each stripe onto the ring so it sticks to it
  • Place the Perforated tart ring with the pastry dough in them into the freezer for 1 hour
  • Pre-heat oven to 160C / 320F
  • After 1 hour take the pastry dough with the rings on them out and trim them with a sharp knife
  • Bake for 20 min then carefully remove the rings and bake for another 5 -10 min until golden brown. Let them cool on the Perforated "air" baking mat before filling
Tried this recipe?Mention @spatuladesserts or tag #spatuladesserts would love to see your creation on Instagram!

The perfect Pâte Sablée, French tart crust

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25 comments

Christina July 19, 2020 - 12:58 pm

5 stars
I used this recipe to bake my pistachio and raspberry tarts. I used all purpose flour because I didn’t have any pastry flour, and it still turned out great! The crust is rich, crisp, sweet but not overly sweet, and perfect for any filling. I will definitely be using this recipe for all tarts from now on.

Reply
admin July 19, 2020 - 8:23 pm

I have seen your tart, it looks incredible. You are an amazing baker, I am so happy I could help with my tart recipe!

Reply
Dan Tye February 14, 2021 - 4:45 pm

5 stars
Great recipe! My tarts came out beautifully ❤️

Reply
Deva amiache March 10, 2021 - 2:10 am

5 stars
This is an amazing recipe, the dough was perfect. Thank you for giving so much detail on how to make it. I would have not been able to nail it with out your detailed information

Reply
admin March 10, 2021 - 10:47 am

so happy to hear that you appreciate by tips and giving details!

Reply
Nina March 10, 2021 - 6:00 pm

hi! I´ve got a gluten-free diet and I want to ask you if I can use a version of gluten-free flour (e.g. rice or corn flour, nuts, oats…) in this tarts? ´cause I want to try this recipe so so much:)) thanks! And maybe if you can help (not necessary) I want to ask you the same thing about your recipe of eclair. But I know you don’t have to know how gluten-free flour acts in a dough…

Reply
admin March 10, 2021 - 7:39 pm

Hey I am sorry I have not tested this gluten-free. I did eclair once gluten-free using rice flour but I have not shared the recipe on that yet. I have a few gluten-free recipes just use the gluten-free tag:)

Reply
Veronika March 12, 2021 - 11:19 am

5 stars
Using your tips and tricks my tarte shells turned out perfectly! My friends thought the desserts were from a pastry shop! 😚

Reply
Latifa March 29, 2021 - 1:39 pm

5 stars
Perfect recipe. I made this with creme patisserie and fresh strawberries and my family loved it. I’ll start using it as a base for any other tarts I bake.

Reply
Tuan May 7, 2021 - 4:24 am

5 stars
Can i turn it into chocolate tart shell?

Reply
admin May 7, 2021 - 9:18 am

Yes in fact I have a Chocolate Pate sablee on the blog just search on it :)

Reply
Helen April 7, 2021 - 12:36 am

5 stars
Hi, just brought the tart n mould from Silikomart. Will be following your recipe cos the recipe given with the mould didn’t give the method how to really use them. Love how you give so detailed instructions. Do you have a recipe for the mirror glaze chocolate mousse cake I can put on top of your chocolate tart?

Reply
admin April 7, 2021 - 10:22 am

Happy to hear that you find my tutorials useful! I don´t have available recipe for chocolate mousse and mirror glaze, on my list though:)

Reply
Eva May 15, 2021 - 6:25 pm

5 stars
The recipe is really simple to follow!
Be aware that it can take a long time to prepare, specialy if you’re not used to roll a pastry dough. But the result is worth it! I recommend it !

Reply
Basema Rehman May 29, 2021 - 12:37 am

5 stars
A very easy recipe and works really well!

Reply
Michelle June 1, 2021 - 2:28 pm

Hi! Thank you for your very clear instructions. One question: How are you lifting the tart shells out of the oven quickly enough if you are not using a baking pan underneath the mat? I have a perforated baking pan and I have used that under my air mat when making pâte sucrée tart shells, but I am interested in using your method for the smaller oven on my boat that won’t fit my perforated pan. Thank you!

Reply
admin June 1, 2021 - 2:35 pm

I am using perforated pan too but the oven rack can work too. Why I am calling out not to use a non perforated pan is that it would be no point to use a perforated mat as air would not circulate. Re what to use on the boat, I imagine there is an oven rack you anyway have to use?

Reply
Umber June 2, 2021 - 1:56 am

Hello… there are soooo many sizes of perforated tart rings on Amazon; can you kindly tell which ones you use mostly shown in your pictures? I mean for a homebaker wanting to start making/selling tarts, which ones do you think will be most practical?
Thankyou
Regards

Reply
admin June 2, 2021 - 8:54 am

Hey I understand that the range is overwhelming! In my Pate Sablee recipe I mention the one I use with links to Amazon (affiliate), that is a 88mm Silikomart, just click on the link I provide several times in my blog post and you will see

Reply
WY June 4, 2021 - 4:24 am

Hi may i know if your oven is a convection oven (fan assisted) or a conventional oven? thank you :)

Reply
admin June 4, 2021 - 8:45 am

no fan :)

Reply
Mark Azul June 15, 2021 - 10:48 am

5 stars
Hi! When lining the tart rings, do you push the side dough in the bottom dough? what do you to stick the bottom and side doughs together in ring?

Reply
admin June 15, 2021 - 2:34 pm

Gently press the side with the bottom, never force the dough and pay attention to the temp. It should not be frozen neither soft, in between:) Good luck!

Reply
Sor June 15, 2021 - 2:32 pm

5 stars
Hello, thank you so much for your clear instructions, But I have a problem when Baling sablée tart shell in 20cm perforated tart ring the bottom always cracks during the baking , is there anything that I can do to prevent it?

Reply
admin June 15, 2021 - 2:36 pm

Hey, never had this issue, sorry to hear about your struggle! I suspect bottom is rolled either to thin or you are not using perforated mat that would allow the air to circulate. I have a large tart tutorial called “raspberry frangipane” perhaps worth to check it out. Good luck and pls keep me posted:)

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