Pâte Sucrée

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
  • large pinch salt
  • 3½ oz caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 oz butter


Sift the flour onto a marble slab or board and make a well in the centre. Put the salt, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in th ewelland mix them with your fingers until the sugar dissolves. Pound the butter to soften it slightly, add it to the well and quickly work it with the other ingredients, using your fingertips to pull the dough into large crumbs.

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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