Tart Crusts Made Easy

Posted on Posted in Breads, French

Today I wanted to publish a recipe for a delisious strawberry tart, but then I realised that making tart dough can be a frustrating experience without a good recipe and a few pointers!Hands get tired mixing ingredients and – oh my God – who wants to deal with sticky dough?

Personally, I have always thought that a good way to save time and aggravation in the kitchen is to rely on store bought pastry crusts.However, even when using a high quality product that contains few ingredients, there is always an industrial taste and smell that goes along with pre-fab tart crust. So . . . today I am going to show you ho to make make a lovely tart shell with just 10 minutes of work.

The shortcrust pastry made this way is called ‘pate brisee’ (pâte brisée) and you will find two recipes here: one unsweetened and one with just a little sugar.The unsweetened dough is perfect with most quiche recipes and savory tarts. The sweetened dough contains only a little sugar – just enough to make it the perfect holder for dessert tarts especially fruit tart recipes.

A good quiestion here is -Pate Brisee vs. Pie Dough? Well the ingredients for pate brisee and regular pie dough are basically the same. The difference lies in the mixing which then changes the end result. A tart crust made from pate brisee will be crispy rather than flakey. Frankly I think most people wouldn’t notice much of a difference.

 

Ingredients:

350 grams all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 – 120 ml) ice water

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar-for the sweet version

Method:

  • Using a sharp knife, cut the butter into about 50 small pieces.
  • Place the flour and salt (and the sugar -sweet version) in a food processor equipped with a blade and mix together – about 10 seconds.
    • Add the butter and pulse on high in 1 second pulses until the mixture looks like coarse meal. For my food processor, this is 15 1 second pulses. I count.
    • With the food processor running, immediately begin pouring the cold water in the chute. Stop the food processor as soon as the water is added and the dough begins to clump together. The whole process of adding the water takes less than 10 seconds.
    • Turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and gather the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball into an even edged disc.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and fitting to tart pan.
    • To blind bake the crust, fit it to the tart pan, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200°C and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. If you are going to bake the crust further with ingredients in it (as for a quiche recipe), just bake for 12 minutes.

Freezing. You can freeze the dough at any stage in the process. If you freeze it in a unrolled out disc, count about 24 hours for it to unfreeze in the refrigerator. I like the convenience of freezing the crust fitted to the pan. This means that everything is ready to go when I want to start baking. Finally you can freeze a blind baked crust, but I can’t see a reason for doing this. A freshly baked crust is always going to be tastier.

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