This is the essential pate brisee recipe for our Rustic Cherry Tart with Ricotta and Almonds recipe.
Lay roughly three quarters of butter on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and freeze until hard, at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, refrigerate remaining butter.
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Add refrigerated butter and pulse to combine, about 10 times. Add frozen butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some blueberry-size clumps.
Add ice water and immediately pulse until just incorporated, about 10 times more. Squeeze a small amount of dough to make sure it holds together. Pulse a few more times, if necessary.
Empty dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Bring edges together to gather dough, pressing so it comes together into a mass. Roll out dough, still in plastic, to a 6-by-8-inch rectangle (1/2 inch thick). Refrigerate at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days; dough can be wrapped in plastic, then in foil, and frozen up to 1 month.