Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 25, 2008 07:13 AM

confectioners sugar and tart dough?

I once used confectioners sugar to make a pie crust- it turned into concrete, and the only reason I can see for it is that I inadvertently used confectioners sugar (which contains cornstarch) rather than regular powdered or granulated sugar.

I am now attempting to make a lemon tart from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook and it calls for confectioners sugar in the tart dough. Am I setting myself up for failure again, or are tart doughs supposed to be different in some way? This recipe also calls for an egg yolk and some heavy cream, so I wonder if there is some sort of magic that will keep my tart from being as hard as stone.

Thanks for any insight!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have in the past found that America's Test Kitchen recipes can be relied upon, but I haven't tried that particular recipe. I'd give it a go and see what you got. It sounds like it has enough fat in it to keep it tender.

    Fat is what keeps your crust from getting all tightened up like that :)

    1. I've made the recipe many times and it works. I use the food processor and measure the flour and confectioner's sugar by weight. Since tart crust has so much flour, the small amount of cornstarch in confectioner sugar won't affect the outcome. Pie crust and sweet tart crust are two different types of dough.

      1. There are several kinds of pastry out there. The ATK one sounds like a sweet tart dough, which is more of a short crust texture. It is very common to add confectioners sugar and egg yolk to those crusts. Never had them turn as hard as rock... Cornstarch usually makes it more tender.

        1. If it's the same idea as the one they put in the Best Recipe (they find different "best" recipes for their books vs their magazines, I'm finding), the lemon tart is one of my favorites, with a flakey crust made of confectioners sugar and egg yolks. Overbaking will make it hard as stone.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            Chowser, your post is a bit old, but is your lemon tart recipe on the tart side? If so, would you mind sharing your recipe including the base?....thank's

            1. re: heylids

              The Best Recipe is actually for lemon bars. I don't know why I said lemon tart back then. I can post the lemon bar recipe, if you'd like. It's not tart but you can easily leave out some sugar to make it more tart. I go by taste. For a lemon tart, I just make a basic pate brisee, like this one:


              I fill w/ Alton Brown's lemon curd recipe, again leaving out a little sugar for more tartness. If I want to take it up more, I add a cream cheese layer (cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, like a cheescake) and then top w/ the lemon curd. I can post links or recipes for any of those.

              1. re: chowser

                Thank's Chowser, I have never made lemon bars, but suspect they are just like individual lemon tarts. I can search the recipe....thank's for sharing!

          2. Confectioners sugar and powdered sugar are the same thing. they both have about 3% cornstarch added. They are interchangeable. I have not made this recipe you are speaking about but have made tart doughs with powdered sugar and it makes them light and slightly crispier than pie dough. Kind of like the crust for lemon bars.