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Jul 11, 2006 11:49 PM

The Tart Crust Thread!

I think I want to be famous for my tarts!

It came up in the pie crust thread that tart crust is another thing entirely. Since I saw wild blueberries at the farmer's market today, I will start next week with the epicurious blueberry buttermilk tart that I think Candy makes. Any tips for this recipe, tart crust in general, or favourite tart recipes? My main problem seems to be rolling the dough out thin enough.

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  1. You don't have to roll, you can press. I make tarts with Fran Gage's recipe from Bread and Chocolate - paraphrased below. The dough is a creamed dough so it is much simpler to make but harder to roll out than pie crust where the butter is cut in. I haven't made blueberry-buttermilk tart in a while but I used to make it with a graham cracker crust.

    Tart Dough
    for a 9 to 10 inch tart

    A mixer makes this really easy. Cream:
    12 T unsalted butter, at room temp.
    1/2 cup sugar

    1 egg
    1/2 t vanilla

    Mix in:
    1-3/4 cups flour
    Mix until just combined.

    Flatten the dough into a circle, wrap in wax paper or parchment and refrigerate an hour.

    Roll out to the basic shape of your tart pan, put in the pan and press it in with your fingers the rest of the way up the sides.

    Freeze for 20 min.

    Line tart dough with foil and fill with pie weights (I just use dry beans designated for that purpose). Blind bake at 400 for 15 to 20 min. Remove the weights and foil and bake until well browned, another 5 to 15 min. Time will depend on the size/shape of the pan and whether you will be baking the filling in it.

    I have a bunch of tiny individual tart pans that I use for any leftover dough. I freeze these and can make tarts at a moments notice.

    Favorite easy fillings:
    a thin layer of strawberry jam and small, fresh strawberries
    same thing with blackberries
    strawberries or raspberries or sliced bananas folded into a little sweetened creme fraiche or whipped cream
    lemon curd

    1 Reply
    1. re: Junie D

      I can finally report back about this - for various reasons I just got around to making the tart. Thank you very much for this recipe, I found it a lot less fussy, and it tasted great. I will be sticking to this technique for a while I think. It is very gratifying to be able to make something that I normally would have to pay $$$ for at the patisserie, of which there are none in my area anyway...
      My next tart will be a bruleed mango thing and I'll probably make a gingersnap crust for that. But after that most likely a lemon tart with your crust, yum. Or maybe apple, hmmm...

    2. That tart dough is a bit sticky. I made 2 of them for a 4th party and imagine my chagrin and embarassment when one went face down on to my hostesses wool rug. I had thought about lining the bottom of the tart tin with a cut out round of parchment and then sliding the parchment lined tart on to my platter but went stupid and left the tarts on the tart tin bottom. The platters were flat and shallow with a very small raised rim. Sigh. Atleast one made it to the table intact. I find the dough tasty but a bit sticky. I rolled it out between plastic sheets which made it only a tiny bit easier to handle. It also is a bit brittle and I don't know why. I may use Malgier's all butter crust in the future with a bit of sugar added and I will line the bottom of the tart tins with a round of parchment cur to fit.

      I had leftover blueberries and used the same recipe sans crust to make a sort of bluebery clafoutis last week. Bluebberries, lemon and buttermilk, a heavenly light tasting summer combination.

      1. If you're looking for a classic pate sucree, the richer short-crust dough often used in tarts, made with egg yolk and some sugar (along the lines of the one in the recipe you linked to), I really like the one in Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Pie and Pastry Bible." I know her basic pie crust recipe is both complex (in execution) and controversial, and I've never tried it, but her all-butter pate sucree has great texture and flavor, is very easy to make, and is very forgiving to work with. I've only made the plain version, but she also includes variations (e.g., lemon, ginger, chocolate) that I plan on trying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          I second this recommendation. I've made RLB's version of pate sucree many times for tarts, with great success.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            I think I am looking for pate sucree - is that what a classic lemon tart would be made with? In any case I think I will try the press-in version above just for kicks next week and I will report back. Thanks all!

            1. re: julesrules

              Yes, then pate sucree is definitely what you're looking for. It's almost got the texture of a delicate shortbread cookie.

          2. I like the sweet pastry crust from Nancy Silverton's Desserts. Has egg yolks, cream and butter. The recipe makes two 10 inch tart crusts and is amenable to adaptations.

            1. You've gotten lots of good crust suggestions here. I just wanted to tell you that I've made this recipe and it's wonderful, particularly when you consider how quickly it comes together once the crust is made. It's a great summer dessert.