In the baking and pastry arts, there are few things more aesthetically pleasing than a well-constructed tart. In many cases, these delicious desserts have the look of an open-faced pie, but are often designed in beautiful concentric fruit formations that are sure to be a hit at any potluck or dinner party this holiday season. Yet, many people shy away from making these culinary delights, mostly because tarts have a reputation of being tough to execute in the kitchen. However, this doesn’t have to be the case – a sweet or savory tart can easily be made at home. Of course, the crust is one of the most important elements of this pastry, so learning to make the dough is crucial.
Why not go store bought?
For some, grabbing a readymade pie crust from the grocery store might seem like a much easier solution than making dough at home. The problem with store-bought crusts is that they won’t have the same freshness and often cook unevenly. According to The Kitchn, the majority of store-bought pie crusts lack flavor and crumble easily. In general, making a tart and pie crusts at home is also less expensive. Mastering this skill is essential for those looking to perfect the art of baking.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
First blend together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and shortening in a pastry blender or food processor. When the mixture is coarse, evenly disperse 3 tablespoons of ice water and stir with a fork. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add in more ice water gradually.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough in small portions and then combine them into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin and, once flat, place it into tart pan. Trim the dough, allowing 1/2 inch to hang over. Take the hanging dough and fold it into the top of the crust near the pan’s edge. Poke evenly with a fork and allow to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line the tart shell with foil and fill it with pie weights. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.