The recipe for tart shell dough can be mixed using two procedures — the “creaming method” or the “pie dough method.” Both have the same ingredients. Below is the creaming method, and the tart shell dough will be “short” like a cookie dough, crumbly and tender, and it will not cut clean. This type of mixing is good for tarts that would have the filling baked right in it like fresh fruit or custard type tarts. The pie dough method cuts the butter into the dry ingredients and the cream is added last to bring the mixture together.Tart Dough
Yield: Two 9-inch tarts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of pure salt
(not iodized or free pouring)
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
(1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the cream and lastly, the dry ingredients being careful not to over-mix. Place mixture onto a table and gently press the dough until it comes together.Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight to rest and chill thoroughly.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use half of this recipe for one 9-inch tart shell. On a floured table, roll out the well-chilled dough to about a 12-inch circle approximately 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough in quarters and place into tart shell pan and unfold carefully to settle into the pan. Gently press dough into the sides of the pan. Trim off the excess dough and place tart shells in the refrigerator to chill or freeze until needed.
I like to use leftover tart shell dough for cookies. Add a small amount of chopped walnuts to the leftover dough and mix slightly. Portion the cookies and place onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, bake at 350 degrees. Roll into powdered sugar and set aside to cool. Great with tea or coffee.
This article appears in the July 2009 issue of New Hampshire Magazine