Recipes Desserts:

The Perfect Tart Shell

The Perfect Tart Shell


Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust or 6 tartlets

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus

1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg*

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

The Prep

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. Add lemon juice. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough forms clumps. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.

To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or 6 tartlett pans with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes or more before baking.

To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the 9” crust for 20 to 25 minutes or the 6 tartlets for 15 to 20 minutes

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer for 9” pan & 5 minutes longer for tartlets to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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