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Jul 10, 2007 11:02 AM

Do you use a diff crust for tarts/quiche than pie?

After endless experiementation and countless recipes, I've finally settled on a pie crust and technique that works consistently for me--good flavor, tender yet flaky, and reliable.

So now my question is: Do you use a different crust for tarts and quiche than you do for pie? I wonder if it would be better to use one where the fat is more evenly incorporated, for a more even texture? Or perhaps one fortified w/ egg to strengthen?

What works for you?


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  1. Yes. I use lard for pie crusts, and butter for tarts... largely because butter based crusts are less tender and flaky, therefore the sides hold up better when unmolded.

    1. It depends if it is a sweet or savoury tart. It the tart is sweet, I might use a bit of sugar and maybe an egg in the dough.

      For a savoury pie, like the classic French Canadian Tourtiere, I use lard in my crust. It compliments the pork filling in the pie. For a fruit pie I tend to use an all butter crust. I just like the way it handles. I have found that adding a bit, maybe 1/4 tsp. baking powder to the dry ingredients adds flakiness to the butter crust.

      1. Yes. After many years of trial and lots of error, I have settled on two basic recipes. Can't really comment on quiche but I think either would work, minus the sugar.

        1. For pies I use the standard American style flaky butter crust: cold butter cut into flour and moistened with cold milk. This is also the recipe I use for fruit galettes and jam galettes (free form with dough folded over filling).

        2. For tart crusts (made in round or square or rectangular pans with removable bottoms) I use Fran Gage's galette dough which involves creaming room temperature butter, adding sugar, eggs, and vanilla, then flour. This dough can be rolled out or simply pressed into a tart pan. It is short, meaning it is more crumbly and cookie-like than flaky pie crust. Her ingredients are:

        6 ounces softened unsalted butter
        1/2 cup sugar
        1 extra-large egg
        1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1 3/4 cups flour

        from her book Bread and Chocolate

        2 Replies
        1. re: Junie D

          Yes, that's just what I was wondering...if a short crust would be better for the tart crusts, to give it more staying shape.

          Hmmm, I've been happy w/ my butter/shortening pie crust recipe with water, but the milk has made me curious. How does that differ from water? Could you just replace in the recipe?


          1. re: sljones

            The recipe with the milk came from an old Northern Louisiana cookbook, but I can't remember which one. I don't know that it makes a huge difference in texture. You could substitute water for the milk, or milk if your recipe uses water. This crust just works perfectly for me - flaky, tender, delicious - and is easy made in the food processor:

            for 2 crusts:
            1 cup cold, unsalted butter (of course you may prefer shortening or lard - I like all butter)
            2 1/2 cups flour
            1 teaspoon salt
            1/2 teaspoon baking powder
            9 or 10 tablespoons cold milk

        2. I have 3 basic crusts that I use.

          Pate Brisee - a flaky butter crust, good for sweet or savory fillings
          1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
          1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
          1/8 teaspoon salt
          3 Tablespoons ice water

          Pate Sucree - a sweet crust that is very crisp, wonderful with creamy fillings like lemon crude
          1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
          1/3 cup sugar
          1/4 tsp salt
          1/4 tsp vanilla extract
          1 egg yolk
          1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
          Beat together the butter and sugar in a medium-size bowl until creamy. Add the salt, vanilla, and egg yolk and mix until completely combined. Add the flour and mix until there are no dry patches.

          Pate Sablee - means sand, this is more like a cookie and has almonds in it. great with fruit fillings. Very similar to the galette dough mentioned by JunieD, except 1-1/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup almond flour.

          My butter VS. lard feeling is that you gain ease of handling with lard, butter gives flavor and more flake - if you do not over mix. If you over mix, butter gives tenderness.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cheftori

            Do you grind your almond flour? And if so how do you get it fine enough but still floury and not almond butter? I've been wary about buying preground almond flour because it seems like it would be rancid before I got it home.

            1. re: Junie D

              You can grind it yourself. Add a little all purpose flour and pulse the processor to make sure you don't get to almond butter.
              I have had very good luck buying it from places like Whole Foods. Try to smell and / or taste it if it is bulk. I don't think it will go rancid in the short period of time you are traveling in your car. I do keep it in the freezer.

          2. nope. i know i sound like a broken record, but i use julia child's pate brisee from mtaofc for everthing....sweet, savory, pie, tart, quiche, turnover. it's perfect. on a double crust sweet pie i do an egg wash and sprinkle sugar. everyone loves the crust. it's almost like puff pastry. seriously it's the only crust you'll need!

            4 Replies
            1. re: eLizard

              And don't forget the "smoosh". I don't even know if she calls it that, but my friend does and I've stolen the term. She has that step where she pushes the dough away from her across the prep it a final butter incorporation. Who knows if it makes a difference, but I love this step.

              1. re: oakjoan

                The "smoosh" totally makes a difference. The idea is that this gives you "leaves" or very thin sheets of butter in the dough, similar to in puff pastry. After you mix the butter into the dough you should still see "leaves" of butter throughout it.
                This is also why you want to put cold dough into a hot, hot oven. The leaves of butter let off steam - all butter has water in it - the stream is what causes the dough to rise and get flaky.
                If you over mix the dough the butter gets to incorporated and the result is no leaves - tender crust instead of flaky.

                  1. re: eLizard

                    So you fraisage for a regular pie crust? I worried that would incorporate it too much, but will have to try it next time. Is the JC recipe the same one in the Way to Cook?