When some people think of a high end and hard desert, they think of a tart. Doesn’t matter whether it’s an apple tart, lemon tart, or poached pear tart. When the word tart is there, people seem to get a little discouraged. The thing is, if you can make a pie crust, then you can make a tart shell. It’s all about keeping the dough at the right temperature while rolling it out. Too hard and it’ll crack, too soft and it’s going to glue itself to your work surface and not make it to the pan. If you don’t have a cold marble or granite counter top, you can always put your cutting board in the fridge while the dough is resting.
Just think of it as a giant cookie that you cover with your favorite topping. If you’re pouring something that’s going to be cold into it, like a lemon curd tart, you bake the shell ahead. Other wise, you put your filling into it and bake them together. I always make an apple tart that gets baked in the shell around thanksgiving. It goes over bigger than the pumpkin pie! In the summer however, lemon tart cools me off.
1lb 4oz A.P. Flour
10 oz Cold Diced Butter
6 oz Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Add your flour, your cold diced butter and salt to the bowl.
Using the paddle attachment, mix until everything resembles small crumbs. Sort of like you’re making biscuits.
Next add your sugar. While the mixer is running, add your eggs one at a time.
When it’s done it should resemble shortbread cookie dough.
Dump it out onto plastic wrap and press it together. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Pull the dough out and let it rest on the counter for about a half hour. Working it with your hands to help warm it a bit, press it out into a disk. Once it’s flat and warmed up just a bit, flour it and start rolling it. I like mine to be a little thicker, about ¼ inch thick.
Once the dough is rolled out, spray your tart pan with nonstick spray. Even if your tart pan is nonstick, it never hurts to be careful.
Using your rolling pin, transfer the dough to the pan. Do this as quickly as you can, otherwise it will break. Press the dough to form to the sides of the pan.
Take a paring knife and cut off any excess dough.
You will inevitably, sooner or later, wind up with a hole in your shell. It happens to everyone. Just take a little bit of your extra dough that you cut off, and press it into place.
Take a fork, and poke some holes in the bottom to keep it from swelling while baking.
Put parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and put some dried beans in there to help weigh it down and draw some heat into the center of the crust. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit or until the crust turns a beautiful golden brown.
Simple! Next step is your filling…The hard part is already done!
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