2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter brought to room temperature
1 1/2 cups of confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup of lightly packed ground blanched almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs brought to room temperature
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Place butter in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the ground almonds, salt and vanilla and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Lightly whip the eggs with a fork until combined. With the mixer running add the eggs to the bowl and mix on medium speed until combined. Last, add the flour and beat on medium speed until all of the flour is incorporated and stop (you want to stop beating the dough as soon as the flour is incorporated).
Working on a lightly floured surface, gather the dough into a ball. Cut dough into three pieces and shape into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow it to rest if you are going to use it right away or up to 2 days. Otherwise the dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen up to one month.
Rolling the Pâte Sucrée:
Butter a 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
This dough can be a bit tough to roll out because of the butter. This however is what makes this dough so scrumptious. An easy way to do it is to roll out the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap. Place plastic wrap on preferably cool surface, such as marble or the counter top. Place dough in the middle of the plastic wrap and top with the second piece of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough turning it often a quarter turn and flipping it so you can roll out the other side. Check and lift the plastic wrap often to make sure you are not rolling it into the dough or wrinkling it. If the dough becomes too warm while rolling it, put it into the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool.
When you are finished rolling out the dough, remove one sheet of plastic and center the exposed side down over the tart pan. Remove the top sheet of plastic and press the dough into tart pan. Roll the rolling pin over the edge of tart pan to remove any excess dough. If the dough has splits or cracks, use the excess dough to patch it (you can moisten the excess dough with a small amount of water to bring the dough back together). Let dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Baking the Pâte Sucrée
Preheat the oven to 350°
Line the crust with a circle of parchment paper and sprinkle with dried beans or rice to use as pie weights to bake the crust.
Bake the crust 20 to 25 minutes or until crust has a very light color. If the pie needs to be fully baked, remove the parchment paper and pie weights and bake another 4-6 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a rack and cool.
Note: Baked crusts can be kept uncovered at room temperature for about 8 hours.
Chef's note: As always use as many organic ingredients you can find for optimum flavor and health benefits.