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blind-baking tart shell tecnique help needed

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I've been making a lot of quiche lately and making my tart shells from scratch a la Julia and MtAoFC. a couple of questions:

1) after partially baking, should the crust be allowed to cool completely before adding the filling and re-baking? I've been filling right away, and it's been a bit stressful....see #2.

2) how long after removing the shell from the oven do i need to wait before unmolding? Any tips? I have tart shells with removable bottoms. It's always such a dicey few moments when I try to unmold that hot shell from that hot mold. I've been placing it on a jar and letting the sides fall away, but it's still pretty tense, the sides don't seem to want to stay up since they're steaming hot, and i end up returning it to the ring, and I have a hard time getting the bottom out from under the shell. I fear if i wait to long to unmold that it will be soggy.

Don't get me wrong, the crusts have been beautiful and delicious, but I have a sense that it's a lot more difficult than it should be. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. I assume you're lining the tart shell with foil or parchment, weighting it, blind baking it until it's set (usually 15-20 minutes), then removing the lining and weights and allowing it to brown (lightly if you're continuing to bake it with a filling; a bit more if you're fully baking the shell)? (That's pretty much the standard method.)

    It's actually better to let the shell cool completely on a rack in the tart pan -- no need to remove the sides or the bottom when everything's hot -- that does sound really stressful!! It won't be soggy as long as you've blind-baked it enough. (I assume you're worried about condensation forming between the crust and the pan, but I've never ever had that problem.) In fact, you can then add the filling and bake it while it's still in the tart pan -- provides some additional insurance against the heartbreak of crust collapse.

    I think it's best to let the shell cool before filling it, but I've been in a rush and put a chocolate custard filling in a warm (not hot-out-of-the-oven) shell and it was fine. YOu can actually bake the shell hours in advance and then fill it and finish baking it later on -- sometimes doing it in parts makes everything a bit easier to handle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MichaelB

      All of the above is sound. One other thing I have found helpful is a round of parchment in the bottom of the pan. It makes sliding the finished tart off of the pan's bottom and on to a platter easily. Sur la Table has precut parchment rounds in a few sizes.

      I did not do that with a tart this summer and the whole thing slid right off of the platter and landed face down on a creamy carpet. Unfortunately it was blueberry. Luckily the stain did come out.