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Dec 28, 2008 08:35 PM

Tart troubles, help needed using a flan ring

I've been attempting to make a classic French apple tart, using a stainless steel flan ring. After I make my pate brisse and set it in the ring, I put the tart dough back in the fridge to rest for about 20 minutes. After this I place the ring/dough in the oven to blind bake before adding the filling. At this stage what keeps happening is that the edges of the tart slide down the ring, leaving me with a flat crust rather than a fillable tart.

Im wondering if this problem is caused by ; A. buttering the ring which makes it too slippery, B. Not filling the crust with beans or weights or something as ive seen in a few recipes, or C. some other reason such as my dough it too crappy.

Thanks for any help!

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  1. I assume that you are:
    Rolling the dough from the center toward the edges and turning it about ninety degrees after each rolling movement to stretch the dough from the center toward the edges and not stretching it from edge to edge.
    Refrigerating the dough for half an hour, wrapped in plastic wrap, before rolling it out.
    Rolling the dough just enough to achieve the size/shape needed without over heating it with too much rolling; or returning it to the fridge if it begins to become too warm.
    Avoiding pulling on the dough to position it in the pan - pulling on the dough stretches it and it has a memory which will cause it to retreat toward its original size/shape if it is pulled.
    Covering it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to half a hour before blind baking.
    Now - to the points of your question.
    I would not butter the tart pan.
    You must weight the dough when blind baking. Typically, I dock the dough, lay a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and evenly distribute a layer of dry beans on the paper when blind baking.

    4 Replies
    1. re: todao

      To add to todao's fine advice, another trick to keep the sides from slipping down is to hold off trimming the excess pastry until after it has been baked. Trim off just enough of the excess pastry to leave 1/2 inch or so hanging over the edge. After blind baking, roll the rolling pin over the tart pan edges to remove the excess pastry.

      1. re: janniecooks

        Thanks for the help. todao I am doing all of those things you mentioned, but I will make sure I follow the guidlines a little more precisely.

        Im not sure we are talking about the exact same thing though as you mentioned a "pan". I am using a stainless steel ring with no bottom on it.

        Thanks again!

        1. re: gastrognome

          pan, ring, whatever. leave a bit of pastry overhanging the edge of the ring when blind baking and roll a rolling pin over the top edges to remove excess pastry.

          1. re: gastrognome

            Even with a "ring" tart mold you should be using a cookie sheet underneath it to support the bottom of your crust while it bakes so, whether ring or pan, the same basic principal applies. One idea just occurred to me and that is the type of material that your pan and ring are made of. There is quite a difference in the way various material (steel, stainless steel, aluminum, aluminum coated steel, glass, silicone, etc.) conduct heat which could have an affect on how your tart shell.

      2. I'm blind baking a pate sucree crust as I type, although in a tart pan not in a ring. First, I always chill the dough in the pan for at least an hour. That extra half hour/40 minutes does make a difference. I never butter the tart pan; buttering the sides will definitely cause the edges to collapse. I always trim the crust while it's in the pan, never after it's been partially baked. I roll the rolling pin lightly over the edges and brush off what remains on the sides. I use a combination of pie weights and lots of pennies (dedicated for the purpose and stored with my pie weights) in parchment paper and make sure that the weights and pennies are pushed up against the sides of the tart. I've found that beans just don't do the job as well as weights and/or pennies. They're not heavy enough to keep the sides in place. I bake the crust for about 15 minutes, remove the weights, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.

        Even when I do all these things, there are some doughs that will collapse more than others. I'll make note of which doughs tend to do that and make sure I'm not using them when the height of the edge is critical to contain the filling.

        2 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          Okay. Crust out of the oven. Here's what it looks like.

          1. re: JoanN

            Uh oh, my third attempt this morning just collapsed!
            The crust was in the fridge before baking for almost 2 hours. I guess I need to look in to the pie weight, bean type thing.

            Fortunately I can still craft a decent tart out of these even after the sides cave in.

            I think it might be the material of the ring as at school in France where I learned this technique we use what I believe to be iron rings, not stainless steel, and we always butter them.

        2. Using a ring, fluted tin, or a ceramic dish will have no effect on blind baking your dough. To blind bake pie dough you require a hot oven and cool dough. I assume that if you set to the oven dial to 375ºf the inside of your oven will actually reach 375ºf. If the oven is not hot enough, the dough will begin to melt before it has a chance to set. However, I do not believe this is an issue in your case.

          Looking at your pictures it seems to me that the problem is how you made or rolled out the pie dough. From your pictures it would seem that your dough has shrunk. This means that somewhere you have developed the gluten in the dough. There are two ways to developed the gluten when using pie dough, one when you are making the dough, too much mixing and two when rolling the dough, you need to roll the dough out more than once to fit the ring/pan. Furthermore, I assume that you are using All-Purpose flour and not bread flour.

          Once you add the cold water to the dough, you must only mix the dough together and no longer. Depending on the flour and recipe, once the dough has devolved gluten, you can not blind bake it successfully; it will shrink as your picture will attest.

          Even if you use a pie weight, if the dough is over mixed, it will still shrink.

          Also, how are you measuring your ingredients? Are you measuring properly? Are you using a scale

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pastryrocks

            I assume you're talking about *my* pictures, since no one else on this thread has posted any. And if you look at the second photo you'll see the dough has shrunk barely at all and the sides of my crust are right up at the rim. They haven't fallen in the least.

            As far as measuring is concerned, I only wish all cookbook writers gave weights. Unfortunately, most still don't.

            1. re: JoanN

              I now see that JoanN has posted the photos and not gastrognome, my mistake.

          2. I know it's been a couple years since you posted about this problem, but I'll toss out a couple ideas in case anyone else is having a similar issue.

            For one thing, some pate sablee and pate sucree recipes I've come across say that after placing the crust in the pan or ring, it should then be frozen, not just refrigerated, before baking for a set amount of time, depending on the recipe. I imagine that the reason may be to keep the dough rigid so that the outer surface of the crust can bake and set before it all collapses.

            For another thing, you may consider looking for another recipe or experimenting a bit with the current one. If you are using volume measurements for the flour instead of weight measurements, then you may have not enough flour and too much fat. (I don't use any tart dough recipes that require buttering the tart pan or ring -- they already have so much butter in the dough that they don't really stick to my pans.) Try using a bit more flour or decreasing the amount of fat a little (and, if necessary, increase the water-based liquid to keep the dough workable). More flour relative to fat may help decrease how much/fast the sides melt down. Additionally, the water-based liquid (water or egg yolk) should help activate more gluten in the flour (gluten provides structure). Personally, I think that it would be easier to find another recipe that uses a little less fat to flour, rather than re-inventing the wheel yourself.

            3 Replies
            1. re: 8itall

              Thanks 8itall.
              Its funny I was actually looking at this post yesterday and thinking I may revisit tart making some time soon!

              Do you have a good simple all purpose recipe for dough you could share?

              1. re: gastrognome

                A very boring day, and I'm looking at a recipe for a caramel walnut torte. I had to reread the recipe several times, thinking it was a tart and the technique assembling the thing is new to me. I had to look up what a flan ring is on the internet. Beats me, odd looking thing, does anyone really make flan in it? Anyway, the recipe I have has a bottom and a top pastry, with a wonderful chocolate glaze and I really want to try this. But dang, the instructions are confusing and after looking at this flan ring thing, I'm not sure I can or want to make this. The dessert sounds to be tall (no photo), and yes, instructions say to place it on a baking sheet cut the pastry after the first bake, then fill with the filling and then cover with the top pastry. then glaze. For the life of me, I can't picture this dessert. I might just make it a tart.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Got a link for that?

                  Flan rings are short, about an inch or less. Entremet rings are taller, 2 or 3 inches and suitable for assembling mousse cakes and things with layers. I use small flan rings (4") for individual tarts and they are convenient because you don't have to mess around with false bottoms or pastry stuck to the bottom of a solid tart tin.