Don’t step away from baking pies and tarts just because you’re afraid to work the dough! Actually, making a tart crust is very easy even for a beginner. Here are two recipes for basic tart crust – one is sweet and one is savory. You can use them no matter the filling you choose!
When I was a kid I saw Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and I fell in love. Not with Prince Charming, but with the pies and tarts. You know the scene where Snow White was kneading dough and asking the birds to help decorate the pie? For me, it’s the perfect description of the peace of mind that you can feel while cooking.
If you ever wondered what the difference is between a tart and a pie, you should know it’s not about the crust recipe. It’s about the appearance. You can use the same recipe for tarts and pies. Usually, a pie has a bottom and a top crust, while a tart only has a bottom and shallow sides of crust. Tart crusts are made with dough, that can be sweet or savory, depending on the tart recipe you want to cook.
Basic tart crust recipes
1. Sweet tart crust
For a buttery, crispy, and crumbly sweet tart crust that goes well with any filling, use 1 2/3 cups (235 grams) of plain flour (plus extra for dusting), 1/2 cup (55 grams) of powdered sugar, 4.4 ounces (125 grams) unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes, 1 large egg, and a splash of milk. Depending on your filling, flavor the crust using vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon, or orange zest. These quantities will do for a 10-inch (25 cm) tart pan.
You can make your dough by hand, or use a food processor. Sift the flour and the powdered sugar and mix them in a large bowl. Using your fingers, gently rub the butter cubes into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you want different flavors, this is the moment you can add orange zest or vanilla or whatever you want and then mix them all.
Whisk the egg and add it to the mixture, along with the milk. Knead until you have a ball of dough, but don’t overwork it. You want the tart crust to be crumbly, rather than elastic and chewy. Sprinkle the dough with some extra flour, wrap it in plastic foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, then place it in the tart baking dish. Prick the base of the case a fork. Put it in the fridge again for at least 30 minutes.
When you make a tart, first you must bake just the crust, and then add the filling. For that, fill the tart right up to the top with rice or beans, and place it for 10 minutes in your preheated oven. Then, remove the rice or beans. From there you have two options. You either add your filling and bake the tart, or bake the crust again, without any filling. Use the second option when you have a cold filling like whipped cream, or cream cheese and fresh fruits.
Here is a sweet tart recipe to experiment with!
2. Savory tart crust
If you’re craving a savory tart, choose a mixture to fill it with - meat, mushrooms, vegetables, and cheese. There are many savory tart crust recipes, but you can use only one if you want to keep things simple. Here is a basic option for you: 1 1/2 cup (210 grams) of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 4.5 ounces (125 grams) of cold butter, cut into small pieces, and 4 tablespoons of ice water. These ingredients are enough for a 10-inch (25 cm) tart pan (we also recommend you use a tart pan with a removable bottom).
Now that you know how to make a dough with your own hands, we’ll tell you how to use a food processor: combine the flour, salt, and butter. Using short pulses, process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the ice water and pulse at a high speed until the mixture begins to come together. But don’t over mix it and make sure you remove it from your food processor before it forms a ball.
Flour your workspace and transfer the dough to it. Knead it into a ball with your hands. Gently flatten the ball into a smooth disk and wrap it in plastic or foil. Keep it in the fridge until firm it’s enough to roll, at least 30 minutes.
After you roll it out and place it in the tart pan, don’t forget to prick the bottom of the shell with a fork. Cover it with foil, and freeze it for at least 30 minutes before baking it.
You can also make the dough ahead of time. The unbaked tart shell can be wrapped and frozen for up to two weeks.
Here is a savory tart recipe to experiemnt with!