Pâte Brisée

This is a transcription of a recipe from The French Cookery School published years ago in parts in The Observer Magazine from Anne Willan of La Varenne, in Paris.


preparation time: 10 mins
cooking time:  


  • 8 oz flour
  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • level tsp salt
  • 3½ – 4 tbs cold water


Sift the flour onto a marble slab or board and make a well in the centre. Pound the butter to soften it slightly. Place the butter, egg yolks, salt and a smaller amount of water in the well and work together with the fingertips until partly mixed. Gradually work in the flour, using the fingertips to pull the dough into large crumbs. If the crumbs are dry, sprinkle over a tablespoon more water. Press the dough firmly together; it should be soft but not sticky.

To mix the dough thoroughly, work it in a few batches by pushing it on the working surface away from you with the heel of the hand and gathering it up with a dough scraper until smooth and pliable. Press the dough into a ball, roll lightly in flour to smooth it and wrap in non-stick parchment, foil, plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Chill for at least 30 mins or until firm. The dough can be stored, tightly warpped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen.

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