Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tarts: Part I

Finally, details on the tarts. We'll start with the basics.

First… the pan.

A tart pan has a removable bottom (in order to be able to serve the tart out of the pan) and usually has scalloped edges that are very sharp. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. I have a 9-inch square tart pan.

My Tart Pan

Second… the crust.

The dough for the crust is ‘sucree dough’. The following recipe made enough dough for both of my tarts. I used the first half right after making the dough and then I put the second half of the dough into a disk shape, covered it in plastic wrap, and placed it in a freezer bag and froze it until Valentine’s Day. Or another option would be to use the leftover dough to make cookies or additional mini tarts.

The recipes are from a pastry class that I took at Whole Foods…although I did adjust the measurements to standard cup measurements rather than grams (because I don’t have a kitchen scale). My conversions may not have been precisely accurate, but they worked okay.

Sucree Dough

2 stick butter, room temperature (but not too soft)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon lemon zest (I’m not a big lemon person, so next time I’ll probably reduce this)
1 egg
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, blend butter and sugar on low to medium speed. (Note: I do not have a stand mixer, so I used a hand mixer. It worked okay)

Add vanilla and lemon zest, mix. Add beaten egg, mix.

Sift together flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the other ingredients; add all at once to keep mixing minimal.

As soon as dough comes together, turn out onto a clean lightly floured surface. Blend with the heel of your hand.

Divide dough into two disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill dough for at least two hours before using.

Cover surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough and place in desired tart pan or cut into shapes for cookies. (I had some trouble getting my dough to roll into one nice smooth sheet, don’t worry, if you have to patch pieces together, no one will be able to tell, just make sure to really press any seems together to avoid gaps.)

Refrigerate the tart crust or cookies before baking, just until cold again.

(I added a step, not part of the original recipe based on steps I had seen in some other recipes…Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust in a variety of places to prevent the crust bottom from baking up too much.)

Bake at 350-375F degrees. Bake until golden. Time depends on the size of the item.

Sucree dough should be work with cold – never hot.
If the dough is cracking, knead it to a slightly warmer, pliable dough with. (I never really got this to work perfectly, but as I noted above, no one could ever tell.)
Always chill dough after shaping, before baking.
Tarts can be filled with pastry cream or chocolate ganache for quick options.


No comments:

Post a Comment