This Pâte Sablée aka Sweet shortcrust pastry makes the perfect French tart shells to use for your favorite tartlets, be it chocolate tart, lemon tart, or any fruit tart! Pâte Sablée is a delicious, buttery shortcrust that is sweet but not too sweet, a melt-in-the-mouth pastry dough that can turn any dessert into fancy French patisserie-like goodness! Making French shortcrust pastry - whether it is full-sized tart cases or mini tartlets - is one of the baking basics definitely worth mastering as a home baker!
What is a tart / tartlet
A tart is a freestanding, shallow, open-faced pastry consisting of a filling in a pastry case with an open-top, not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually a rich shortcrust pastry (Pate sable dough), while the filling can be both sweet or savory. A tart case is typically baked in a tart ring with fluted or straight sides. Smaller tarts are often 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. As fancy as they look, these French pastries are in fact surprisingly easy to make at home and can be the most impressive desserts on any family or friend get-together.
What is Pâte Sablée
Pâte Sablée is a classic sweet shortcrust pastry dough that is used to make delicious French tarts, such as Fruit tart eg. Strawberry tart, Lemon tart, or Chocolate and Salted Caramel tart, etc.
Unlike traditional American flaky pie crust, Pate sablee makes a crispier and more biscuit-like tart shell. It is super delicious, buttery shortcrust that is sweet but not too sweet, a melt-in-the-mouth pastry dough. The sable pastry recipe contains only a few basic ingredients - like butter, sugar, and flour - yet can be the base of the fanciest, most amazing desserts you will ever make. Once you learn the basics of preparing the pastry cases, it will be possible to play around with the ingredients and eg. replace some part of the flour with hazelnut flour to make Hazelnut tart, or even add in some special ingredients like this Black sesame tart.
Why this is the best recipe
This is a professional Pâte Sablée tart case recipe that is adopted to home kitchen environment eg. several chilling times are involved to keep the pastry on the right temperature to work with.
The most important factors to bake neat, professional-looking Pâte Sablée tart cases are:
- Using the right ingredients on the right temperature eg. 82% fat content European style high quality unsalted butter used chilled
- Using the right equipment, eg. perforated tart rings that ensure even baking without blind baking
- Learning the right technique, eg. how to roll the pastry to an even thickness
In this sable pastry recipe - whether you make mini tartlets or full-size tarts - I cover all the necessary information you probably haven´t read anywhere else, so your tart cases will turn out exactly like mine!
How hard it is to make homemade Pâte Sablée
Making homemade tart cases using this Pâte Sablée recipe is actually not that hard, neither too complex nor time-consuming.
However, perfecting the recipe requires practice and precision. The pastry dough itself comes together really easy and quickly using a handful of ingredients. The most difficult part of the recipe is probably "feeling the dough", keeping it chilled, so it does not tear but comfortable to work with. I have a whole Baking tip section dedicated to "Temperature" where I will give instructions on how to handle the dough and why it is important to keep it cold at all times.
This Pâte Sablée recipe might look long - and in fact, it is, because of the necessary information you need to know in order to succeed - but the process is much quicker in practice. Consider this recipe as a full-on sweet shortcrust pastry tutorial, the only recipe that you will ever need to read to make tartlets at home.
Please note that you can use this recipe not just to bake tart shells, but also to make simple Pâte Sablée biscuits. Prepare the dough as explained, then cut out biscuit circles, bake and enjoy.
- Flour: I am using pastry flour (that is lower in protein content) for this French tart shell recipe, feel free to use All-purpose flour, 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 here
- Almond: Some Pâte Sablée recipes contain almond, some don't, I prefer mine with almond flour from a taste and texture point of view. Pâte Sablée with almond flour is slightly cripsier with some marzipan taste. It is worth buying good quality ground almonds, without skin. Almond can be replaced with hazelnut, walnut, pistachio flour too, or alternatively, in case of nut allergy, replace it with equal amount of pastry flour
- Sugar: This sweet shortcrust pastry 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 here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of dessert recipes. Balances flavor and enhances other ingredients. This is a sweet tart dough and I just love that extra very mild salty kick at the end
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using high-quality 82% fat content European-style butter in all my recipes. While in most of the recipes butter needs to be at room temperature, this is an exception and you have to take it very seriously. The butter needs to be chilled, which means take the butter out of the fridge, cut it into cubes then place it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before using it
- Egg: Room temperature as always. Please note that this is not a Vegan pâte sablée recipe and the egg can´t be left out or replaced, unless you have the knowledge to totally reformulate the recipe
Exact ingredient quantities can be found in the RECIPE CARD, at the bottom of this page.
As you can see the sweet shortcrust pastry recipe is a super simple recipe in terms of the ingredients. The secret behind making beautiful, neat, and delicious French 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!
5 Expert tips
1. Creaming vs. Crumbling method
There are 2 main methods in the pastry chefs' world making Patee sable tart shell; one is creaming, the other is crumbling. With the creaming method, the butter is at room temperature, and first needs to be creamed with icing sugar, then you mix in the rest of the ingredients.
In the case of the 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 sweet shortcrust pastry dough cooler, meaning easier to work with. And that brings us to the next important topic, the temperature. Either way, no need to use a food processor, the actual kneading process is made with your hands in literally 1-2 minutes.
2. The importance of temperature while making sweet shortcrust pastry
When I started experimenting with baking, I had several disastrous attempts making Pate sablee. Now I understand that the one and only reason I failed was being impatient 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 utilize 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 the pate sable recipe, the temperature is everything! If the dough is too warm, it's sticky and can't be rolled out or shaped. If too cold, it will easily break. The entire pastry-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 10 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 at all times! Obviously in professional kitchens temperature as well as humidity is under control, and the rolling process is done by a laminator machine, however in a home environment remember, this is something we have to be super careful with.
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 it with eg. pie weights. Frankly, it is not an ideal, professional solution, 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 unevenly.
My Pate sable recipe DOES NOT involve blind baking, instead, I am suggesting using perforated baking rings and a perforated baking mat for the best results. The recipe, of course, can be made using the traditional blind baking method with pie weights, however, I recommend working with perforated equipment for a neat-looking result. Please see below my Equipment tips for further details.
4. How to avoid the pastry dough shrinking while baking
Have you ever experienced a shrinking, sad-looking pastry while baking? Never 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 pan. First, cut the bottoms out with the help of the actual tart ring, then cut out some long strips - this will be the side of the tart shell. The pastry dough should be 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 the case of non-perforated rings. Once you try this equipment, you will never bake pastry without it, I can guarantee!
5. Process of making Pâte Sablée, sweet shortcrust pastry
Now that we covered all the important WHAT and WHY, let´s see how exactly to make sweet shortcrust pastry for your favorite tartlets!
- Measure all ingredients with a Digital scale and prepare all the equipment ahead: Rolling pin, Silicone baking mat, Perforated “air” baking mat, Perforated tart ring
- Place the measured butter chunks into the freezer for 5-10 minutes
- Sift together the dry ingredients; flour, icing sugar, almond, salt, and mix so they are combined properly
- Add very cold butter chunks into dry ingredients and rub the mixture between your hands until it becomes a sand-like consistency. This will take about 2 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. Please note that there is no need to use a food processor!
- 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 a 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 (11.6 inches / 30 cm x 16.5 inches / 42cm)
- 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
- 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 to 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 that is cold enough to be able to handle (so not sticky) but not too cold which would result in breaking it
- Cut 8 long strips out of the dough, this will be the side of the tart
- Carefully place the strips into the ring one by one. Press each strip onto the side of the ring so it sticks to it. Again, make sure you work with a dough that is cold enough but not frozen as that would make it impossible to place it into the tart pan without breaking it
- Place the Perforated tart rings with the pastry dough in them into the freezer for 1 hour
- Pre-heat oven to 160C / 320F
- After 1 hour, take the sweet shortcrust pastry dough with the rings on them out and trim the top with a sharp knife
- Bake them 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 the pastry seems to be stuck onto the ring, it means probably you will need to bake it for a few more minutes. Do not force it as you can easily break it
- Once tart rings are removed, you will need to place the tart cases back to the oven. The tarts will be ready baked already after a few minutes, however, if you wish to bake it until golden brown, bake it for another approx. 10 minutes, adjust the baking time if needed. Rotate the baking sheet, if necessary. Let them cool on the Perforated "air" baking mat before filling them
You can achieve neat, visually appealing, professional-looking tart crust by using professional baking equipment. Luckily these are available to purchase on Amazon not just for professionals, but also for home bakers.
Silicone baking mat
I recommend using 2 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 a silicone baking mat. It’s also possible to use 2 sheets of parchment paper however the silicone mat provides a much neater, smooth surface. It can be washed and re-used all the time so overall worth the investment. I am using the “Amazon basics” cheapest version, 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, the 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. Use your fridge or freezer to control the temperature of the pastry dough at all times.
Perforated baking “air” mat
The Perforated “air” baking mat is perfect for making 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 baked super neat.
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 years from a brand called Silikomart and love it!
Perforated tart ring
The Perforated tart rings are non-stick and stainless, they allow homogeneous baking due to the even air circulation. Silikomart offers rings in various shapes and sizes, I am using an 8cm (3,14inch) diameter round version in this case, however, the recipe can be made in larger rings as well just like this Raspberry Frangipane tart. 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.
Absolutely no need to grease the tart rings when making Pâte Sablée, the dough will stick to its perforated side while baking, and will contract after baked - so the ring can be removed easily. These Perforated tart rings are the best investment I have ever made!
Yes, you can use traditional equipment (eg. tart pan) and technique (eg. bling baking), however, for the best results I can warmly recommend investing in a couple of tart rings and a perforated baking mat
Yes, in fact, I have a Chocolate Pâte Sablée recipe too, check it out!
Yes of course you can, this recipe works no matter what size or shape of tarts you want to bake, however, you will need to adjust the baking time accordingly, as well as maybe double the recipe ingredients depending on how many you want to bake.
Yes, most probably you can, I am working on a gluten-free version myself, however, you can´t just replace flour with gluten-free flour 1:1 without reformulating the recipe. When one ingredient changes, some other ingredients need to be changed too in order to keep the balance in the texture and flavor
Probably you can, however just as making it gluten-free, you will need to adjust the ingredients somewhat if the egg is left out. Sadly, I am not able to provide substitutes for all sorts of allergies and diets
Before you fill the tart cases, you can store them easily on top of each other in an air-tight container. Once you fill them, they should be served soon as depending on the filling you use they might get soggy after a day or two. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge. Cover it, so it does not absorb any smell from the fridge
You can easily freeze the tart cases before baking, and bake them fresh when needed. Once they are baked, you can still freeze them, however, they might lose their crispiness a bit. Once filled with cream, I do not recommend freezing them but serving them shortly after (depending on the filling)
More Tart recipes
Check out my ultimate collection of tart recipes! With a couple of base crust recipes, you can make mini tartlets or larger ones in any shape, form, or flavor.
The BEST Pâte Sablée, sweet shortcrust pastry
- 90 g (¾ cups) Icing sugar
- 230 g (2 cups) Pastry flour can be replaced with All purpose flour
- 30 g (⅓ cups) Almond flour
- Pinch of salt
- 110 g (½ cups) Unsalted butter 82% fat content, use it very cold, cut into chunks
- 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.
- Measure and cut butter into chunks and place it into the freezer for a few minutes
- Sift together dry ingredients; flour, icing sugar, almond, salt
- Add very cold butter chunks into the dry ingredients, 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 the dough with the palm of your hand for a minute or two, just until the dough becomes smooth. Do not over-knead the dough and do not use mixer, neither a food processor
- 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. 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 temperature 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 strips out of the dough, this will be the side of the tart
- Carefully place the strips into the ring one by one. Press each strip 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 the oven to 160C / 320F
- After 1 hour, trim the top of the pastry with a sharp knife
- Bake for 20 min, then carefully remove the rings and bake for another 5 -10 min until golden brown. At the 20 min mark the pastry should be already somewhat baked and therefore will contract within the ring. If the pastry feels stuck into the ring, bake it for further 1-2 minutes
- Let the pastry cases cool on the Perforated "air" baking mat before filling
- Measure your ingredients with a Digital scale for accuracy
- Use high-quality 82% fat content European style very cold unsalted butter
- In case of nut allergy, almond can be replaced with an equal amount of flour
- Do not skip the salt
- Make sure you read my Expert tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking. Consider this recipe like an in-depth tutorial, literally the only recipe you will ever need to make Pâte Sablée, sweet shortcrust pastry
- While assembling and kneading the dough, work as quickly as possible without 1. overworking the dough 2. making the dough too warm. Kneading literally should not take more than a minute or two
- The temperature while working with this dough is super important. Too warm? The pastry dough will tear. Too cold? The pastry dough will break. Aim for the in-between, a cold enough dough that is comfortable to work with. Use your fridge or freezer to chill the dough if it gets too warm
- The recipe can be made with the traditional blind baking method using a tart pan, however, consider using perforated equipment for the best result
- I strongly advise using a Digital oven thermometer to be able to measure your exact oven temperature
- Check my filling suggestions for 10+ tartlet filling ideas and recipes
The recipe is fantastic. I am not sure what I am doing incorrectly but the base of my tart shells are always pitted when I look at the base. Is there something you could suggest to prevent this from happening. Thank you so much.
Hey can you pls clarify what do you mean on "pitted"?
Dear Kata, the sides are nice and smooth but the base is not smooth when I lift the tart and look at the base, it is all cratered. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes.
Thanks for this recipe, I finally is able to made nice and perfect crust.
I have never seen such a well written recipe, you were born to be a teacher, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!
After having difficulty with a different crust recipe for my passionfruit tart, I'm going to switch and try this recipe instead. Before doing so, I'd greatly appreciate any advice you have for adapting this recipe for baked tart fillings. The original recipe (9.5 in tart pan at 350 degrees) was baked for 30 minutes, taken out of the oven and liner removed, then baked for another 15 minutes. Then filled with the curd and baked at 325 for 12-15 minutes.
I saw a similar question in the comments section but the response didn't provide much clarity. If you could point me in the right direction of how to use this recipe with baked fillings I would be forever grateful.
There is no one universal way to use this crust for baked filling bec it depends on the filling, the size of the tart pan, whether you are using perforated products or traditional tart tin, etc. In general, eg. when making pies, I always recommend fully pre-bake the crust before pouring the filling in as the crust won't bake once a liquid filling is in.
Recipe is great. Detail is great. Only issue I have is out of 4 tarts 3 crumbled when I tried taking the shells out of the silikomart rings. I did use the air mat too. So pretty much did everything you said.
Let the tarts cool for a few min after the initial 20 min bake. Then bakes one for a few more minutes. They always break.
Got any advice on how to prevent that?
The tart will contract in the ring when it is baked so if it does not contract, bake it slightly longer.
Another issue can be the technique eg. forcing the dough into the ring when it is warm, not freezing before baking, etc. In that case, the dough won´t contract that much during baking and there is a unique technique for getting the shells out of the ring: hold the tart shell with both hands and gently press the top on two opposite sides at the same time then go around the edge of the tart shells. Never press the middle part, only the top side of the tart shell edges.
Hi there, I have to make some lemon tarts for a party in a few weeks and was going to give your recipe for tart shells ago. I’ve bought my perforated rings so I’m ready to go.
How far ahead of time can I make these? & just store them in an airtight container?
Best to make them fresh as the pastry might soften due to humidity. If it is not possible, you can make them a few days ahead or even freeze them.
I do see the difference from using apf to pastry flour! But i only have a bit problem, my shell is puffing even i using silpat and poked holes in the center still puffing. What i did i just pressed it down in the middle of baking and it kinda works but im
Getting that light color in the center bottom of the tart and the rest is golden brown on the side and around the center of the tart.
I wonder if its because of the size of the ring are smaller. Im using 3in perforated ring.
But overall i would be using this recipe forever!
Hey I do mention several times in the recipe to use a perforated baking mat so that the air can circulate and the bottom of the tart won´t puff up.
Once you bake it on perforated mat, the shell will bake more even:)
How do you fill the pate sablee ring 1/2 full when it's standing upright?
Sorry I dont understand the question.
How would you put a filling in the bottom half of the pate sablee ring which is standing upright?
Hi, am I right in thinking that you place the silicone matt directly onto the wire rack? Doesn't it buckle? and need support of a tray? x
Yes either directly on the wire rack or on a perforated tray. Let me know how it turns out:)
If I want to fill them and bake them a second time, should I change the first bake time?
It depends on the filling, however, in most cases you have to properly pre-bake the crust before pouring any liquid filling in.
Are your oven temperatures for a fan forced or conventional oven?
No fan. Happy baking:)
Thank you so much. I only just saw your message.
Your recipe is excellent. I have made the recipe a number of times now and the tart shells turn out simply perfect. Thank you for your very clear instructions and for sharing your knowledge.
Thanks for your kindness, hope you will try some of my other recipes as well soon:)
Love the recipe! Worked a treat and so tasty but found the ring and the base would fall apart when eating them. Do you have any tips to ensure they stick better?
Glad you liked this recipe. It is quite normal that when you eat a tart, the side and the base does not stick together. I have had several tartlets from pro pastry shops and that is just the nature of this dessert:)
Your recipe is just amazing. I put my Amazon perforated mat on the baking rack but the bottom of the crust still puffed up. Only after I poked some holes on it that it stopped puffing, but the bottom was not that even. Any suggestion to fix that?
Is the perforated mat placed either on the oven rack or over a perforated tray? If so, the dough should not puff up. I´ve done this tart many many times and it never puffed up since the air can circulate underneath the dough.
Thanks for your prompt reply. The mat was on the oven wire rack. Mine is an Amazon Perforated mat. Perhaps it was not good enough? Just ordered Silikomart air mat and will see if it works better. By the way, I need to keep the tarts in the fridge overnight. Do you think brushing the bottom with egg white can help prevent sogginess for 24 hours?
I have not used amazon perforated mat but as long as they are perforated, the pastry should not puff up.
I recommend freezing the pastries overnight then bake the next morning (the recipe anyway has a freezing step). No need to brush it with egg white, I´ve made this with several filling from pastry cream to ganache etc and it never gets soggy.
I have made this recipe twice and it turns out great. For a quick uncooked filling, I filled with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and folded in whipped cream, then topped with berries. Your recipe says if there is a nut allergy, you can substitute more flour in place of the almond meal. Do the tart shells turn out as sturdy as they do with the almonds, or do they get soft?
Glad you enjoyed it! Without almonds, the texture is almost identical, definitely not soft.
This is the best and only tart recipe that explains everything! I am not a super experienced baker but nailed it, thank you so much!!