Simca’s Pâte Sublime or Sweet Pastry Dough

This “Sweet Pastry Dough with Cream” recipe is a variation of one that I learned to make at La Pitchoune. La Pitchoune was Julia and Paul Child’s home in the south of France. Their neighbors were the Beck family as in Simca (Simone) Beck who was one of the co-authors of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

My friend Kathy lived at La Pitchoune after the Child’s moved. She ran La Peetch, as it was affectionaly known, as a cooking school for many years. I would often visit to be her assistant during those cooking classes. This recipe yields about 1 ½ pounds pastry dough or enough for two 9 or 10 inch tart shells.

6 tablespoons (1/3 cup) heavy cream, beaten with 1 large egg yolk
2 cups (9 oz / 260 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1 oz / 30 g) cake flour, not self-rising
1 teaspoon (1/8 oz) aluminum-free baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons (¾ oz /25 g) super fine granulated sugar
10 tablespoons (5 oz / 150 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Optional additions
Substitute 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice for 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Zest of one orange, preferably organic

In a small bowl or measuring cup beat together cream and egg yolk. Set in refrigerator until ready to use.

In the bowl of a food processor weight or measure out dry ingredients. Using the metal “S” blade process 2 seconds to combine.

Scatter butter around flour mixture and pulse on/off for 8 to 10 seconds (about 20 pulses) or until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.

Turn off machine and using a spatula or wooden spoon mound the flour mixture towards the center of the processor bowl. Pour the egg mixture around the parameter of the flour mixture and process just until the mixture starts to hold together.

Turn out onto a floured surface. With the heel of your hand smear the dough away from you at little at a time on the counter, folding it back onto itself with a bench scraper. Once it comes together divide it evenly into two disks. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least ½ hour or even overnight. When ready to roll out, remove the dough from the refrigrator and allow it to sit for a bit to temper. (Attempting to roll it out when it’s too cold becomes an activity of frustration as the dough cracks.)

 Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper or on a lightly floured surface about an 1 ½-inches larger than the tart ring. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin, then unroll over the tart pan. Form the dough evenly in the pan, pressing firmly against the sides.

For a decorative edge leave the sides of the dough slightly higher than the pan. Using the back of a paring knife, score the edges at a slight angle. Pop in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to blind bake or fill and bake.

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