Sweet Tart Pastry

From America's Test Kitchen Season 2: Two French Tarts

Why this recipe works:

The problem with most tarts is the crust—it’s usually either too tough or too brittle. While regular pie crust is tender and flaky, classic tart crust should be fine-textured, buttery-rich, crisp, and crumbly—it is often described as being shortbread-like. We set out in the test kitchen to… read more

The problem with most tarts is the crust—it’s usually either too tough or too brittle. While regular pie crust is tender and flaky, classic tart crust should be fine-textured, buttery-rich, crisp, and crumbly—it is often described as being shortbread-like. We set out in the test kitchen to achieve the perfect tart dough, one that we could use in several of our tart recipes.

We found that using a full stick of butter made tart dough that tasted great and was easy to handle, yet still had a delicate crumb. Instead of using the hard-to-find superfine sugar and pastry flour that many other recipes call for, we used confectioners’ sugar and all-purpose flour to achieve a crisp texture. Rolling the dough and fitting it into the tart pan was easy, and we had ample dough to patch any holes.

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Makes one 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart shell

If the dough feels too firm when you’re ready to roll it out, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes. If, on the other hand, the dough becomes soft and sticky while rolling, don’t hesitate to rechill it until it becomes easier to work with. Better to rechill than to add too much flour, which will damage the delicate, crisp texture of the dough. We find a French rolling pin (as pictured in illustrations) to be the most precise instrument for rolling tart pastry. Bake the tart shell in a 9- to 9 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and fluted sides about 1 to 1 1/8 inches high. This recipe is formally known as Pâte Sucrée.

Ingredients

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