Sweet Tart Crust
This recipe, my trusted go-to, turns out a cookielike crust — sweet, golden and more crisp than flaky. Typically French — it’s a pâte sablée — I use the recipe for my whole lemon tart as well as for the less French bakewell tart. I make the dough in a food processor using very cold butter, and while it sounds like culinary heresy, I roll it out as soon as it’s made. Sandwiched between parchment or wax paper, the dough is a cinch to roll at this point — just make sure to chill it before you bake it (better yet, freeze it once it’s in the pan). I also like to partly bake the crust before I fill it, a step you can skip, but prebaking will give you a crisper bottom crust.
- Serves: 9 persons
- 1 ½cups/204 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 ½ounces/128 grams very cold unsalted butter (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon), cut into small pieces
- 1large egg yolk
Step 1Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse to blend. Scatter in the butter, and pulse about a dozen times, until the butter is cut in — you’ll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and others the size of peas. Stir the yolk to break it up and add it in 3 additions, pulsing after each. Pulse until the dough has curds and clumps; it should hold together when you pinch it. Turn it out onto a counter, knead it into a compact ball and flatten it into a disk.
Step 2Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle between layers of parchment (or wax) paper. If it’s cold enough, fit it into a 9-to-9½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, trimming the top even with the pan’s edges; if it’s not, chill it until you can work with it. Refrigerate the crust (in the pan) for at least 1 hour (or cover and freeze for up to 2 months).
Step 3Heat the oven to 400. Place the pan on a baking sheet, and cover with a piece of buttered foil or parchment, pressing it lightly to cover the crust’s bottom and sides; fill with rice.
Step 4Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and rice. If you're going to bake the tart again with a filling, bake it uncovered for 5 minutes more. If you'll be using a no-bake filling, bake the uncovered crust for an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Cool for at least 30 minutes before filling.