French Pastry Recipes
Bring the patisserie to your home with these French pastry recipes. It is so delicious, it's rather like shortbread, light, crisp and buttery. It makes your mouth water just to think about it.
Yet so many people are afraid to try and make it at home. Please don't be afraid to try these recipes as it's just a technique that you will acquire with a little patience and once you have mastered it - hey presto - you will be making the most delicious tarts and quiches you have ever tasted.
For all French pastry recipes the ingredients are so important. We need to get it right.
The French use a special low gluten flour but you can produce a good pastry using all purpose flour if you cannot buy French flour.
The French also use unsalted butter and this gives a crisp texture but again, you can use three parts butter to one part vegetable fat, which produces a light crisp pastry to be proud of.
The two types of French pastry recipes I will describe here are the Pate Brisee which is the short crust pastry and used for quiches, pies etc., and the Pate Brisee Sucree or the sweet short paste. This is used for tarts, especially fruit tarts. This paste can also be flavoured with almond, vanilla or brandy to give it a wonderful flavour.
You can either make your pastry by hand or in a food processor. However, it is really a good idea to make it by hand to begin with so as to learn the skill of making a good pastry - to get the feel of the pastry in your hands and to learn the basics first. Il faut mettre la main a la pate!
The most important part of making all French pastry recipes is the hand mixing. You must work quickly and not handle the dough for long. This is to prevent it from getting warm as you do not want the butter to soften. So work with light fingers and very quickly.
If you choose to make your French pastry recipes in a food processor, do not over do it, just mix for a short time or the pastry will be hard.
Pate Brisee or Short Crust Pastry
This will make enough for a 9 inch Pie or Tart or for Ten 3 inch tartlets
• 2 cups of all purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sugar
• 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) chilled butter cut into small pieces
• 4 tablespoons (2 oz)chilled vegetable shortening.
• 1/2 cup iced water
• Place the flour, salt, sugar, butter and vegetable shortening into a large bowl.
• Rub the flour and fat together very quickly until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
• Add the water and blend quickly until you have the mix into a ball of dough. You may need a few drops of extra water to pick up it all, however, do not over do it or the pastry will be hard.
• At this stage the French do what is called a fraisage, or the final blending.
• Place the pastry dough on the floured board and using the heel of the hand, press the pastry down and away from you. Gather the pastry back into a ball with a scraper and place into a waxed bag or polythene bag which has been lightly dusted with flour. Place the dough in the refrigerator or about 2 hours.
• If you prefer, you can make the pastry ahead of time and make it the day before, keeping it in the refrigerator over night.
• When rolling out your pastry do this quickly so that the fat does not soften. It is very difficult to handle when this happens. However, if this does happen you can just press it to fit into the tin and even though it may not look professional, it will still taste wonderful. Just don't worry, you will soon learn the technique!
Pate Sucree or Rich Short Crust Pastry
This pastry is very much like the pate brisee but has sugar and egg yolks added which makes it a richer pastry and it good for fruit tarts.
Sugar makes the dough more crumbly and difficult to handle and in fact it is often called pate sablee or sandy pastry.
• 1 cup of flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces
• 2 egg yolks beaten with 2 tablespoons iced water and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional)
Place the flour, confectioner's sugar, and salt into a large baking bowl.
• Add the butter and using your finger tips, rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Do this very quickly to prevent the butter from softening.
• Add the water and egg mixture until the mixture sticks together.
• If the mixture is a little dry add a few drops of water.
• Now proceed to the fraisage but as the dough will be difficult to handle, you can use a piece of plastic wrap to place the dough on and use this to push the dough away from you until it is smooth.
• Wrap in the plastic and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
To Make A Pastry Shell
There are so many wonderful French pastry recipes but people are afraid to make the pastry! They don't know which is best. So here are a few tips for you. And please don't be afraid to try and make them - it is only practice that makes perfect. It's easy when you know how - and now you do!
For savoury pies and quiches, the pastry to use is the short crust pastry or the pate brisee. For sweet tarts such as lemon tart or raspberry tart etc. the pate sucree is the perfect one to use.
• Prepare your flan tin by lightly greasing it. An 8inch flan tin is suitable for most flans or quiches. Smaller ones for individual tarts etc. A straight sided flan tin with a loose bottom is the best to use for a quiche.
• Roll out your pastry just a little larger than the flan tin. To do this, you can reverse the pastry onto the rolling pin, hoping it won't break! Or you can fold it in half and then lay it in the tin and unfold it. Use your fingers to lift the edges of pastry and let it fill the entire tin. If it breaks, don't worry, just press it into the tin, it will still taste good. Make sure there are no large holes in the bottom or the filling will come out!
• Use your rolling pin to roll over the top of the tin to trim off the edges. You can of course use a knife if you prefer.
• At this stage I like to make a decorative edge around the rim. I do this by using a knife to make small marks around the rim.
• Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork.
• Now at this stage you need to line the flan with a piece of lightly greased (with butter) paper or you can use foil and then fill it with dried beans. This is to prevent the bottom of the pastry case from puffing up when cooking.
• Place in a preheated oven at 400 for about 8 minutes.
• Remove from the oven and remove the paper and beans. Place the shell back in the oven for about 2 minutes more (just starting to colour).
• This is your partially cooked pastry shell.
• For a fully cooked pastry shell continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the pastry is a golden brown colour.
Small pastry shells filled with beans
Cooked pastry shells ready to be filled
Practice makes perfect with these French pastry recipes!
Are You Ready To Practice?
Let's start with a simple pastry using a cooked shell and an easy filling. This is a favourite of mine when I'm pushed for time!
French pastry recipes can be easy with something simple to start you off like this little gem. Mouthwatering summer strawberries with a delicious soft cheese filling. Enjoy!
For a more traditional filling for your strawberry tart or indeed any fruit tart, a delicous custard cream filling or creme patissiere is what you need.
This is very simple to make but again many are a little scared that it is too difficult to make or that it will go lumpy. No, indeed it is quite simple and if I can do it, you can do it too. Take a look here at
where you will find the instructions for this simple custard cream filling and all the varieties of flavourings you can add to it. You will be able to make any fruit tart you wish once you have this little recipe!
Here is another summer fruit tart for you to make with your French pastry recipes - a mouthwatering
with a raspberry preserve glaze. Really yummy!
What about some wonderful French profiteroles or puffs?
Choux pastry or pate a choux is really quite easy and quick to make so take a look over at these little angels and you really will be in sheer heaven!
They take you back to your childhood - so if your'e feeling a little nostalgic or just want a really good pick-me up, these little
choux pastry angels
must definitely be included with your French pastry recipes. Well, we all deserve a treat once in a while!
Mouthwatering, delicious puff pastry to make the most appetizing savoury dishes or the sweetest heavenly cakes ever! Your choice! Here is a recipe that is easy to make and one you will keep close to your heart.
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