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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tart shells and never ending options!

Whether your pallet enjoys the richness of chocolate, or the tartness of lemons, a tart shell can contain what your heart desires most. The combinations of fillings and toppings are literally endless.

Step 1:
- Choose a dough:
- Pate "BRISÉ": - most often used for savory fillings, apple pies and butter tarts
- most often will contain lard or shorting instead of butter
- May not contain eggs
- contains granulated sugar and a certain amount of salt to balance the sweetness
-Pate "SUCRÉ":
- most often used for sweet tarts as in lemon meringue tarts, fruit tarts of all kinds
- contains butter and not shortening
- will have a yellow tint due to it containing egg yolks
- contains powdered sugar sometimes and not as much salt

Step 2:
-Choose a filling and know when to blind bake or not:
- If your tart will contain a curd, pudding or cream, you will want to blind bake the tart shells
- Fruit tarts; pastry cream in blind baked shells and topped with fresh fruit

- Lemon meringue; curd is added to blind baked shells
- Banana cream pie; pudding is added in blind baked shells

TIP: Before adding any cream, pudding or curd to a blind baked shell, brush the bottom of the tart or pie with a see through layer of melted chocolate. This will prevent the crust to become humid or wet. This is called "chablonner" which means: "to spread a thin layer of chocolate to a cake, cookie of crust".

- If your tart contains a filling which can be baked, follow necessary steps
- Butter tarts; filling poured in raw shells and baked all together

- Pear tarts, almond fillind and blanched pear added to raw dough then baked

- Apple pie, assemble pie and bake all together

Step 3:
- Let your imagination run wildly.
- Blind bake a pate sablé, chablonner, place slices of bananas on the bottom and cover with a chocolate pudding. You'll then have a banana chocolate pudding pie. Yum!
- Blind bake a pate sablé, chablonner, spread pastry cream in the shell and top with fresh fruit for a fresh tasting fruit tart.

The sky is the limit when it comes to combinations of what to put in a tart shell.
Here's a few basic dough recipes.

Pate sucrée:
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 jaunes d'oeufs/ eggs yolks
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- lemon zest

In a bowl combine the flour, sugar and butter. Mix with a pastry fork (pastry blender) to create a coarse meal. Whisk lightly together, the yolks and water. Add to the flour mixture while mixing lightly with your hand to just combine the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge before use to let the dough relax for better results.

Pate brisée:
- 2 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup chilled unsalted butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice cold water (till is holds together)

Place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter to the bowl and break the butter into the flour with 2 butter knives of a pastry blender (pastry fork) until it resembles a coarse meal.
with one hand stir mixture around with your fingers. At the same time,with the other hand, pour in the water in a thin stream until the dough holds together. Press the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in a fridge to let cool and relax before using. This will relax the tension and elasticity created by the mixing of the dough.


Basic recipes are the building blocks of all pastry products. The more you know, the more combinations you will think of! :) Stay tunned for more basic recipes to come! Please comment if you need any more assistance with ideas or techniques on a previous subject.

Eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow!


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