Anyone who makes their own tarts these days will most likely take advantage of pre-baked tart shells. These are available in markets virtually everywhere and only need to be filled for those who want to save time. However, true bakers understand the importance of baking their own tart shells. Everything starts with Sweet Tart dough or Pâte Sucrée which is sweet, delicately crumbly, and rich on the tongue.

A somewhat simple dough

Making Sweet Tart dough isn't really hard but it is a little time-consuming. The dough's formula can be broken down with a simple ratio of three: two: one of flour, butter, sugar, and an egg. Because of the presence of softened butter and an egg, the Sweet Tart dough is much more tender and sturdier in terms of consistency compared to a flaky or mealy dough. However, it needs to be chilled and even frozen during its preparation to ensure that it stays firm, even while baking.

The following recipe is the simplest way to make Sweet Tart dough and will provide great results. For a filling, this recipe for curd is a great way to start.

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • One and a half cups all-purpose flour
  • One fourth tsp salt
  • Three fourths stick of unsalted butter
  • Eight tbsp powdered sugar
  • One large egg
  • Half tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Line a sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor or in a bowl with a whisk. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and powdered sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed.
  4. Add the egg while creaming. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and blend again until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the flour/salt mixture. Blend on low speed until a soft dough forms. Do not overmix.
  6. Transfer the dough onto the parchment-lined sheet and press down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until its time to use.
  7. When ready to line a tart pan, transfer the chilled dough to a flour-dusted surface and roll out to half an inch thick. At this point, the chilled dough will be crumbly. This is fine. When it crumbles, simply press it back together with fingers.
  8. Press the dough gently into a nine-inch tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom) and trim the edges to line the pan.
  9. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. This will prevent the dough from shrinking.
  10. When ready to blind bake the crust, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the dough with parchment and place pie weights inside. Place inside the hot oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment and bake again for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Set aside to cool for a few minutes and fill.

Yield: One tart shell.

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