How to Make Tart Crust

Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet – neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it’s important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

How to Make Tart Crust

This is a guide for visual learners. The full recipe is below. Also, this method uses an electric mixer but I also have instructions for making the tart dough by hand, with a pastry cutter.

Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

Start by making the tart dough:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg. Continue mixing until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt, mix until combined.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  3. Blend in flour and baking powder on low speed.
  4. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

Next, blind-bake the tart crust:

  1. Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  2. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over the tart pan.
  3. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Trim any excess dough.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  4. Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake 12 minutes.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  5. Remove pie weights (affiliate link) or beans and parchment paper or foil. Return to oven and bake until golden brown and fully cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool completely.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

How to make Tart Dough by hand

If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can mix the tart dough by hand using a pastry cutter or two forks.

Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together with a pastry cutter or two forks until coarse crumbs form.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  2. Add egg and continue mixing until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt, mix until combined.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  3. Blend in flour and baking powder.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  4. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.
    Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.

How do you transfer dough to a pie plate or tart pan?

I learned this little trick in culinary school.

  1. Loosely roll your dough around a rolling pin.
    Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.
  2. Then, gently unroll it from the rolling pin over the tart pan or pie plate.

What is the difference between pie crust and tart crust?

While regular pie crust is tender and flaky (made with twice the fat of tart crust), classic tart crust has a fine crumb and is buttery, crispy, and crumbly (similar to shortbread).

In both crusts, butter provides most of the flavor. Pie dough is also sturdier than tart dough; pie dough can stretch a bit, but tart crust is far more tender and requires gentle handling. However, tart dough can easily be patched and squished back together if it does crack or crumble.

Can you bake a tart in a pie plate?

If you don’t have a tart pan, you can use a pie plate. However, you may have to adjust the amount of filling and baking time.

The reverse is not necessarily true, though. While technically a pie dough can be baked in a tart pan, it will most likely rise and puff up leaving little space for the filling.

Can you freeze tart dough?

Tart dough freezes very well; here are some options.

  • For long-term storage: Flatten the dough into a disk and wrapped well with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil, or placed in a freezer-safe container (avoid freezer burn and freezer flavors with the extra wrapping).
  • For short-term storage: Roll the dough out into a thin round and freeze it it. The dough should still be wrapped well in plastic, then foil. The downside of this method is that it needs a large flat area within the freezer, and runs the risk of being broken. However if it breaks, you’ll be able to easily patch it back together when thawed.
  • If you have a tart pan to spare: Roll out the tart dough, chill it, then press it into the tart pan and freeze. Prick the tart dough all over with a fork, press plastic wrap, waxed or parchment paper against the surface of the tart dough, then securely wrap with plastic wrap, and aluminum foil for up to 1-2 weeks. With this method, the tart crust can be baked right from the freezer and pie weights don’t even need to be used.

What is tart pastry?

Tart pastry is the same thing as tart crust. “Pastry” is a term used to signify that the dough will be used to create the crust of a tart.

How to Make Tart Crust

Learn how to make tart crust that is buttery, crisp, and lightly sweet - neither too thick nor thin. Because the filling-to-crust ratio is narrower than that of pie, it's important to make sure the crust is as delicious as the filling.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Keyword flour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 194 kcal

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

To make the tart dough:

  1. In a standing mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or with an electric mixer by hand, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg. Continue mixing until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and salt, mix until combined.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour and baking powder and blend until the dough comes together (do not overmix).
  4. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and chill at least 1 hour.

To blind-bake the tart crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (177 degrees Celsius).
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch (0.3 cm to 0.6 cm). If the dough crumbles or breaks apart, press back together with your fingertips.
  3. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin, then gently unroll it over the tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom (9 inches or 24.4 cm in diameter, or substitute a pie plate).
  4. Press the dough firmly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. Trim any excess dough. Cover the dough with parchment paper or foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans (you will need about 2 pounds or 1 kilogram, see notes). Bake 12 minutes.
  5. Remove pie weights or beans and parchment paper or foil. Return to oven and bake until golden brown and fully cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Cool completely.

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