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Basic Tart Shell

Time 1 hour
Yields Makes 2 (9-inch) tart shells; serves 12
Basic Tart Shell
1

Combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of standing mixer. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to flour mixture. On slow speed, mix butter and flour until texture resembles coarse oatmeal.

2

Beat egg and vanilla together in small bowl and add to flour mixture. Mix until dough pulls together. Form 2 thick flat disks and set aside to rest 5 minutes.

3

Roll out dough disks slightly thinner than 1/4-inch thick and cut out circle 2 inches larger than your tart pan. Ease dough into tart pan and press firmly into pan. Chill 1 hour. Line shell with foil and fill with baking weights.

4

Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes then remove foil and weights and return shell to oven until edges are lightly golden and center is no longer wet looking, 8 to 10 minutes more. (Small individual tartlets may be baked without foil and weights and take 15 to 20 minutes depending on size.)

This sturdy dough has a butter cookie-like texture and is perfect for tarts because it shrinks only a bit during baking. It must be made in a standing mixer, as it’s hard to pull it together by hand. I like to double this recipe and store shells that have been rolled out and pressed into the tart pans in the freezer for up to 2 months. Double wrap them in plastic to ensure freshness. I bake them in a preheated oven directly from the freezer. Baked shells can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. You can also make 24 to 30 small tartlets with this recipe.

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