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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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.

Valerie

Nut-Crust Tart Shell

Foundation recipes

Yield: one 9-inch baked tart shell
Recipe: 25/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 113

    This nutty dough recipe somehow looks good even before it is baked, even just rolled up in a ball. As seems to be often the case for me, I had a little trouble making this dough. I have now come to realize that I am not very good at making dough and crusts. Practice makes perfect, I guess! My main problem I think is that I tend to follow a recipe to the letter, even if I feel that something is amiss. In my case, it is usually water. This time I followed my gut and added a little extra water to ensure that the dough stays together. It did the trick. Of course I made this recipe for a specific dessert which I will post next: the rocky road tart (it looks as good as it sounds!).

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the nuts and 2 tablespoons of the flour until the nuts are finely ground.
  2. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, the sugar and the salt in the food processor. Pulse to blend.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture.
  4. Add the cold water and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. If necessary, add a little extra water to ensure that the dough is cohesive.
  5. Shape the dough into a disc a cover in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until the dough is firm, at least one hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, break the chilled dough into 4 pieces and knead them back together to soften them. Knead the dough briefly and roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness. Delicately transfer the dough to a 9-inch, removable-bottom tart pan. Make sure to press the dough into the corners and trim away the excess dough. Chill the dough for 10 minutes.
  7. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork. Place the tart pan on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown around the edges and dry in the centre. Let the tart shell cool prior to placing the filling.

Notes from Anna:

  • The dough can be frozen at step 5 if desired and thawed in the refrigerator before rolling.

Valerie