I have a confession to make: I
sometimes rarely make my own pâte brisée from scratch. Switzerland’s supermarket chain Coop makes a fantastic pâte brisée to fill up with your own ingredients, and I always find myself driving over to buy it when I’m thinking about making a quiche. When you come home tired from work at 7 pm to a hungry husband, the last thing he wants you to do is spend two hours in the kitchen preparing dinner. But when I have free time, I like to cook everything from scratch, making even my own pâte brisée for dinner.
When I got married, my mom gave me two cookbooks to add to my collection: the Joy of Cooking Part 1 and the Joy of Cooking Part 2. The cookbook was first published in 1931 by Irma Rombauer and features everything you need to know about the basics of cooking, from cakes, fish and poultry to meat, vegetables, soups and much more. The cookbook has been edited and republished throughout the years, and is much more of a cooking bible than it is a cookbook. You’ll not only find recipes within its pages, but also loads of tips on how to properly sauté, fry, bake and more.
Dating back to 1964, my 5th edition Joy of Cooking books have a long history of travel and memories. They first traveled with my mom to Boston when she left to study at university. She then traveled with the books to Taiwan, my birth country, brought them over to Switzerland a decade later, and finally passed them down to me in July. I’d love to say that the Joy of Cooking contributed to making my mom such an amazing cook, but she’d probably say that “practice makes perfect” while cookbooks are there to inspire and lead the way.
Flipping through the pages of the Joy of Cooking for the first time, I thought about my mom’s learning experience with cooking and how every great chef needed to learn the basics before becoming extraordinary. That afternoon, I decided to make my own pâte brisée from scratch, following Irma’s recipe by the word. The pâte brisée was so good, buttery and flaky, that it even beat the one I usually buy from Coop, prompting me to share it with you even though it’s not a recipe of my own.
Once pre-baked, fill up the pâte brisée with your favorite ingredients for a salty quiche, or use it as a crust for a sweet pie. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did and that it will push you to buy the Joy of Cooking cookbook if you don’t already have it in your collection.
- ½ cup (115g) and 2 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 to 7 tablespoons water
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter with the salt. Slowly add in flour, mixing by hand, until thoroughly combined and soft.
- Flatten the dough and make a well in the middle of the dough. Pour in the water, one tablespoon at a time, and stir with your index finger in a spiral manner, from the inside of the well to the outside. Continue pouring the water until the dough no longer sticks to your fingers and until it is soft enough to roll into a ball. Irma's recipe calls for 5 to 6 tablespoons of water only, however I found that I needed a bit more to reach the right consistency. Judge how much water you need to reach the right consistency, but no more than 7 tablespoons should do.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 36 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out with a rolling pin to form a circle.
- Prick the shell gently with a fork and fill with weights before putting it in the oven to make sure it bakes evenly.
- Bake the shell for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven, let cool, and fill with your favorite ingredients.
MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE: Substitute the butter for margarine
How did your pâte brisée come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania