Sable Tart Shell

Foundation recipes

Yield: one 9-inch baked tart shell
Recipe: 91/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 108

    Next up: Lemon Tarte, also known as Tarte au Citron. To do this, of course, requires an appropriate and delicate tart shell.


  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake and pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Beat the butter and the icing sugar together until fluffy using a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Stir in the egg, then add in the milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Stir in the flour and salt until the dough comes together as a ball. Note: the dough will be quite sticky.
  4. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap and then chill it for at least two hours in the fridge, until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Knead the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to soften it just slightly. Dust the pastry with a little flour and roll in out to just over 11 inches in diameter and just under 1/4 inch thick. Line a 9-inch removable-bottom fluted tart pan and trim the dough that hangs over the edges. Chill the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge, or for 10 minutes in the freezer.
  6. Placed the chilled tart pan on a baking tray. Dock the bottom of the pastry shell with a fork* and bake the dough for 20-24 minutes, until just the edges are golden brown and the centre of the shell looks dry. Cool completely before filling.

Notes from Anna:

  • Fill the tart shell soon after baking it, as it is fragile when not filled. However, the dough can be chilled for up to 3 days and then baked.

Notes from Valerie:

  • *So that the tart shell doesn’t shrink within the tart pan as it bakes, I strongly recommend that you place a layer of parchment paper or aluminium foil over the forked dough, then cover this with pie weights (or something heavy than can withstand high temperatures) to weigh down the shell as it bakes and bubbles.


Double-Crust Pie Dough

Foundation recipes

Yield: makes enough pastry for one 2-crust pie (or two 1-crust pies)
Recipe: 1/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 82

  Although I love baking and everything it entails (preparing a savoury dessert or snack, smelling its aromas as it bakes and enjoying it warm with family or friends), one thing that I have always been afraid to try was to make my own dough to use for pies or other such dessert. For some reason that, after trying this recipe, I cannot fathom, I believed this to be one of the most difficult things to do as a baker. It seems so much easier to buy an already made and even rolled out dough! Not that I ever did, I was never a fan of pies (gasp!) ! I believe that is story of the past. The first recipe I wanted to try from my brand new cookbook from my baking idol was the classic apple pie. To do so, I obviously needed to make my own dough. Thankfully, Anna has a recipe, a perfect one might I add, for this. It is surprisingly very easy to do, basically foolproof (as can be testified by the fact that even I was successful at it) and very good. The dough was easy to manage and baked perfectly. This will be my go-to pie dough recipe for some time, I am sure of it. I lack the words to convey how simple and essential this recipe is, so give it a try!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 2  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, directly from the fridge
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice


  1. While it’s cold, cut the butter into small pieces. Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Combine well using a hand or stand mixer until the dough is a crumbly texture.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cold egg, water and vinegar (or lemon juice). Add to the dough all at once and mix until the dough comes together.
  5. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into 2 discs, wrap them each in plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling.

Notes from Anna (from pp. 78-79, 82):

  • The pie dough can be frozen for up to 6 months and is thawed in the refrigerator.
  • Butter’s consistency changes considerably from cold to room temperature. Due to the fact that butter softens as the dough is mixed, it can create an unnerving sense that a dough can be ruined if overworked. Worry not, it will all come together as long as the dough has had a chance to sit out of the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • The acidity provided by vinegar or lemon juice is key to a flaky and tender pastry.
  • Every time you work your dough, whether it is mixing it or rolling it, you should give it time to rest.