Pâte Brisée (Short or Crumb Crust )



by Cat, August, 2007 (updated September, 2007, June 2008, May 2010)

(Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Pastry Brisée is most commonly used for quiche or other savory pies. It is pressed into the pan, rather than rolled. It can also be crumbled on top of a pie as a crumb-crust.

If you are looking for a quiche crust that is rolled, see the alternative rolled version, after the main recipe.

Pâte Brisée (Short-Crust or Crumb-Crust)

This is an excellent crust for a quiche or savory cheese pie.  It does not include water or other liquid (although my un-tested spelt version below uses a small amount of water). It is not rolled, but rather pressed into the pan with the fingers.  I like to use half unbleached white, half whole wheat pastry flour (or whole spelt flour), but you can alter the proportions to suit your taste.

Makes one crust for a 9 or 10″ pie, quiche or tart.

Ingredients & Equipment: 

  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or whole spelt flour)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch Unrefined sea salt
  • ⅔ cup chilled butter
  • bowl
  • pastry cutter
  • waxed paper
  • 9″ or 10″ pie pan, quiche pan, or removable-bottom tart pan


  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Cut butter into Tbsp-size pieces; using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand (finer than for a rolled crust).
  3. Add no water.  Work dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper and put away to chill for an hour or more.
  4. Preheat oven to 4500 F.
  5. Press into a buttered pie or quiche pan (bottom and sides) with your fingers until it is smooth and of even thickness.  Crimp the edge.
  6. Prick the bottom with a fork; bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven.  Cool a bit before filling and final baking.

Alternative Quiche Crust (Rolled)

Use the ingredients for Standard American Pie Crust, then follow method below.

  1. After cutting in the butter to texture of coarse cornmeal, sprinkle a scant ⅓ cup filtered, chilled water over and work it in quickly.  Form into a ball, press into a 1″ thick disk, wrap in wax paper and chill for about 2 hours.
  2. Roll and shape into pan.  Prick bottom of the shell all over with a fork and chill for 30 min.
  3. For a prebaked quiche or tart shell, line the inside of the pastry shell with a pieces of aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Fill with dried beans.  Bake in preheated 450 F oven for about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the beans and foil/paper and prick again.  Return to the hot oven for another 4 – 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the shell begins to color.
  5. Allow to cool slightly on a rack, then fill according to recipe.

Whole Spelt Pâte Brisée (Short-Crust or Crumb Crust)

This recipe is from Bob’s Red Mill whole spelt flour package, and only works for a single crust pie (or quiche).  You can always top the pie with a crumb crust.  It calls for oil, rather than butter or lard, and is pressed into the pan, rather than rolled.  This version uses a small amount of  water. Spelt is water soluble, so less water is needed than for wheat dough.  Spelt is also more delicate, so use less time to mix.

This crust is not rolled, but rather pressed into the pan (like shortbread).  It  makes one crust for a 9″ pie. (not tested – I prefer using the presoak yogurt-spelt recipe for tarts)

Ingredients & Equipment: 

  • 3 Tbsp oil *
  • 2 Tbsp cool water (or 1 Tbsp yogurt and 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp water if soaking the pastry overnight)
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp whole spelt flour (if you use whole wheat flour, you may need more water)
  • medium bowl
  • pastry cutter or pastry fork
  • 9″ pie pan

* NOTE:  for savory pies, use extra-virgin olive oil; for sweet pies, use a lighter olive oil, or coconut oil in warm weather.


  1. Whisk oil, water and salt together.
  2. Stir in flour and mix only until evenly moistened.  Do not over-mix, or crust will be tough. Use right away, OR form into a ball and cover with waxed paper, then with a cloth to rest overnight.
  3. Press into pie pan.
  4. Fill and bake as required for the filling, or bake empty crust for 12 minutes at 375 F, and fill when cool.

See also my Peach Kuchen Recipe for another spelt crumb crust recipe.

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