Pasta Sfoglia II or Pasta Brise’ – Salted Pie double Crust
Pasta Sfoglia Salata or Pasta Brise’ is very similar to Southern piecrusts. It is widely used in both Italy and France for presentation and balance. This crust should not be used with sweets. It is great to make miniature pies for appetizers, to cover and encompass finger foods, to wrap tender cuts of veal and seal in the juices and to make marvelous self contained casseroles. One of my favorite tricks with this pasta is wrap small pieces of hotdogs and bake for 12 minutes just before serving with cocktails.
The most famous use of Pasta Brise’ would be Beef Wellington. I think it is a great way to get kids of all ages to eat their vegetables. I make casseroles filled with various types of vegetables enclosed in a piecrust. The crust is salted to balance with the vegetables. Just about anything can be hidden in one of these salted pies and even the mushiest of vegetables will gain consistency when cooked this way.
2 cups unbleached sifted flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter cut into ½ inch pieces
about 5 tbls water
measure the ingredients. Place the flour & salt in a metal mixing bowl. Place everything, including the mixing bowl, in the freezer for about 10 minutes. With a fork or pastry tool cut the butter into the flour very quickly. It will seem that the flour and butter remain separated but in about 2 minutes you will see small, spring pea sized balls of butter form. Replace the mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take out and sprinkle the water into the flour mixture as you turn the flour with a fork.
Now the mixture will be very similar to a southern biscuit consistency at this time. With your hands, you need the body heat, knead the dough until it just comes together. Divide the pieces in two parts and roll into two round sections for a 9” pie dish. Place on wax paper and into the fridge.
The pasta can be manipulated in different ways. If you want to increase the flaky characteristic simply keep the dough cold and fold and roll it several times. If you want more of a crumbly texture the trick is to work it longer with your hands. The heat from you hands will melt the butter and result in more of a cookie texture.
Tags: Gourmet Foods Brise Pasta Sfoglia Appetizers Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy