I make a lot of tarts since my family is in love with them. Our absolute favorite Tart is the mushroom & spinach tart https://bakealish.com/spinach-mushroom-mini-pies/
When I first decided to try baking a tart it turned out great, we all liked it but there were times I remade the same tart and it turned out different. With practice and lots of research I now feel like I have perfected the art of tarts & pies.
Remember !! The most important thing is to get your tart shell right. It has to be PERFECT. Only when you have a well-baked shell is when your overall tart will turn perfect.
How do you define a good tart shell to be?
It has to be buttery, crisp and not too thick not to thin. It should not have a bump once baked but remain flat and crisp. The edges need to be neat. Keep in mind once the filling is in the tart, it should not make the tart soggy. This can be taken care of by finding the right tart recipe and with good baking.
Here is my recipe for a good tart crust: /https://bakealish.com/pie-crust-tart-crust/
So here are my top tips for making a good tart crust
#Tip One: Cold Butter: One of the most important ingredients in your recipe is the butter you use. It could be salted or unsalted however whats most important is the consistency of the butter. It is essential that you use cold butter while making the dough. This is what keeps your crust crisp. If you use room temperature or melted butter, your tart won’t turn firm and crisp. If you want it flaky, cold butter is the trick.You can make the same recipe with room temperature butter and wonder why it turned soggy and soft.
So, the trick is cut the butter or any fat you using into small cubes and chill again. Once really cold only then combine it with the flour, making sure it resembles breadcrumb like texture
#Tip Two: Dough Consistency: Most pie dough recipes ask for a liquid as an ingredient to form the dough, commonly used is chilled water. You need to use the cold water only as required. The reason we add the water is only to bring the dough together. You need not knead the dough but only bring it all together. There are no rules like make a smooth ball or make a soft dough or knead well, all you need to do is just BRING IT TOGETHER. Once done flatten the dough like a disc and cling wrap
#Tip Three: Chill the dough before using: Chilling the dough before rolling lets the gluten in it relax. This will make it easier to roll the dough and also prevent it from shrinking while baking. You can make the dough and keep it for days in the freezer and use as required.
#Tip Four: Rolling the dough: Roll the dough making sure it is not too firm to roll as it is just out of the fridge. While rolling sprinkle flour below the dough and above. Roll carefully making sure all sides are evenly rolled. If there is any cracking keep bringing it together. If there is too much cracking it means your dough is too cold to roll. Sprinkle a good amount of flour while rolling to avoid sticking.
#Tip Five: Let the tart chill before baking: Once you have the dough placed in the baking tart tray, let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two before baking. This will make sure the dough retains its shape while baking. Keeping the pie crust in the fridge for a while will make sure the butter in it is firm. When this firm crust goes into the hot oven, it is the quick melting of the butter that makes the crust flaky and crisps
#Tip Six: Prick the tart before baking: Using a skewer or fork, prick the tart all round before baking. This will avoid it from shrinking while baking. It will also avoid the pie from puffing in the center while baking
#Tip Seven: Baking: Some tarts are completely blind baked and then a filling is added and served. Some tarts are partially baked and then rebaked with a filling added to it. Whatever be your situation make sure to preheat the oven before baking. You need not open the oven in the first 20 minutes as this is when the real baking is happening. Remember, the browner your tart the crispier it is. So bake the tart until it turns a nice brown in color.
So these were some of my personal tips, I hope they help you. If you have any questions please put them in the comments below. I’m always happy to help.
Happy Baking …