Sweet Shortcrust Pastry (Sweet Pâte Brisée)
 
Yield can vary depending on the size of your tart pan(s) and how thin you roll out your dough. Makes one 28 cm (11¼-inch) tart, two 23 cm (9-inch) tarts, twelve 10 cm (4-inch) tarts, or twenty 8 cm (3¼-inch) tarts
Ingredients
  • 400 g (14 oz/1¾ cups) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1.5 cm (about ½-inch) cubes
  • 20 ml (½ fl oz/1 tablespoon) vinegar, chilled
  • 100 g (3½ oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar, chilled
  • 170 ml (5½ fl oz/⅔ cup) water, chilled
  • 665 g (1 lb 7½ oz/5⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, chilled
  • 5 g (⅛ oz/1 teaspoon) salt
Instructions
  1. Remove the butter from the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start mixing—the butter should be just soft, but still very cold, so it doesn’t melt through the pastry while mixing.
  2. Put the vinegar, sugar and water in a bowl, stirring well.
  3. If mixing the dough by hand, mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl and toss the butter through. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour to partly combine.
  4. If using a food processor (we recommend this method if using European butter), put the flour and salt in the bowl of the food processor and add the butter, pulsing in one-second bursts about three or four times to partly combine. You should now have a floury mix through which you can see squashed pieces of butter.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean bench and gather together. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and use the palm of your hand to ‘smear’ this mixture away from you across the bench (a pastry scraper is a useful tool here). Gather together again and repeat this smearing process twice more, before gathering the dough again. You may need to smear once or twice more to bring it together—you should still be able to see streaks of butter marbled through the pastry; this gives a slightly flaky texture to the final product.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal portions and shape into two round, flat discs, 2 cm (¾ inch) thick. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  7. Working with one portion of pastry at a time, remove the pastry from the refrigerator a few minutes before you wish to roll it. Sprinkle a little flour on the bench and rub a little flour over a rolling pin. Working from the centre of the pastry, gently roll the dough away from you, then turn the dough about 30 degrees and roll out again.
  8. Repeat this process until you have a flat round disc, about 3 mm (⅛ inch) thick. Sprinkle extra flour over the bench and rolling pin as needed, but use it as sparingly as possible—if too much flour is absorbed into the dough, the pastry will end up with poor flavour and texture. Bear in mind that you are trying to flatten the pastry into a disc, not ferociously stretch it out in all directions. Stretching will only cause the pastry to shrink excessively during baking.
  9. Transfer the pastry to a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the gluten to relax.
  10. To make one 28 cm (11¼-inch) tart shell, roll out the pastry to 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick and cut it into a 30 cm (12-inch) disc.
  11. Knead the excess dough back together and roll it out again to get a few smaller discs to keep in the freezer.
  12. To make two 23 cm (9-inch) tart shells, roll out the pastry to 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick and cut it into a 25 cm (10-inch) disc.
  13. Knead the excess dough back together and roll it out again to get a second disc.
  14. To make twelve 10 cm (4-inch) tart shells, about 3.5 cm (1¼ inches) deep, roll out the pastry to 3 mm (⅛ inch) thick. Cut into eight or nine 15 cm (6-inch) discs. Knead the excess dough back together and roll it out again to get the balance of the 12 discs.
  15. To make twenty 8 cm (3¼-inch) tart shells, roll out the pastry to 3 mm (⅛ inch) thick. Cut into twelve 11 cm (4½-inch) discs. Knead the excess dough back together and roll it out again to get the balance of the 20 discs.
  16. At Bourke Street Bakery, we prefer to use loose-based tart tins and moulds, which have sides that are at an angle of about 90 degrees to the base. The right-angle offers more support than sloping sides and makes it easier to remove a fragile tart. Again, it is important not to stretch the dough when lining the tins.
Notes
This pastry will have a slightly uneven edge around the rim of the tin, resulting in a tart that looks rustic and home-made, which is what we aim for at Bourke Street Bakery. If you are after a perfectly even effect, this is not the pastry to use—this dough has water in it, which means it will shrink as the water evaporates during baking; the following method is to help counteract this shrinkage.

The number of tarts you end up with will vary, depending on how thinly the pastry is rolled. The pastry can be frozen for up to 2 months, so it makes sense to line all the shells with foil (ready to blind-bake), store them in the freezer, then blind-bake them as you need them. You do not need to thaw them first.
Recipe by Bake from Scratch at https://www.bakefromscratch.com/ginger-brulee-tarts/