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Old 06-04-2011, 03:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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Tart Shell - help please

Hi everyone,
I am planning on baking butter tarts, but rather than buy the pre-made tart shells, I would rather make them from scratch. Having only made tart shells once before, however, I have a few concerns. I am currently living in France and was told here that for mini-tarts, I should use a "pâte sablée" rather than a "pâte brisée" (as I understand it, one of the main differences is that the sablée dough has sugar and brisée does not). However, when I made tarts, the dough puffed considerably (once baked, the crimped edges had just melted into each other), and the tarts were not very pretty. I think this may be because I added too much liquid to the dough.
I really want my tarts to be visually appealing and to look like the pre-made ones you can buy from the store (I would also like them to have crimped edges). Does anyone have a good recipe and advice on how I can make a tart that is pretty AND yummy?
I also have some questions:
-I've seen some tart shell recipes call for egg and some just water. I am assuming the egg will help the pastry keep its shape but is it necessary to get a tart shell to hold it's shape?
-I've seen recipes call for both pre-baking the shells before adding filling or filling unbaked shells... what do people recommend?
-I've also heard of people sealing the shell with an egg wash before adding filling to prevent the shell from getting soggy but none of the butter tart recipes I've seen have done this. Should I try it?
To all you "Tart pros" out there I would love to learn the tricks on getting some nice looking tarts :)


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Old 06-04-2011, 05:11 AM   #2
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I think that a cool way to make the tart shells would be to make the shells as if one were making sandbakkel tarts. Here's a link to a recipe that is close to my grandma's. Since you are making butter tarts, I'd probably use pecans and omit the almond extract.

Jul Recipes

The trick to getting the dough in those molds (the ones shown) is to roll the chilled dough in 3 small balls, about the size of a cherry, and then press into the molds with your thumbs. Prick them before you bake them, and take them out before they brown. To fill them, I'd suggest baking for about 2-3 minutes, remove from oven, fill, and then bake until the filling is set. That would be the experiment I would try. But, if you are putting the dough into tart molds, I'd suggest lightly greasing the molds (we wack the sandbakkler molds on a bread board and flip them...I doubt you want to wack them if you had filling in them).

Regardless of the recipe you use to make the tart base, I'd try rolling the dough in little balls and pressing it into your tart molds or muffin pan (I have lots of recipes for butter tarts--a Canadian favorite--where they are baked in muffin tins).

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Old 06-04-2011, 05:15 AM   #3
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Pre-bake the shells, but you also need to prick the bottom with a fork and then weight down the pasty bottoms with parchment and some dried beans when you bake them. That will prevent the bottoms from rising up.
Quoth the chicken, "Fry some more."
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