Sweet Tart Crust

By Shiran

Buttery, crispy, crumbly tart crust that goes well with any filling.

Perfect Sweet Tart Dough | prettysimplesweet.com

Making homemade tart crust may seem scary to many people, and whenever I try to explain to someone how it’s done, I usually lose them at the ‘blind baking’ or ‘pie weights’ part. But as with anything, the process becomes simpler and quicker after a few tries, and the results are well worth the preparation and practice.

This recipe is great for any tart you’re making. It’s crumbly and sweet with a firm cookie-like texture. Tart dough is a bit different than pie dough, which is more flaky and tender, so don’t confuse the two.

Granulated sugar vs powdered sugar
Powdered sugar is my preference since it yields a more tender crust with an unbeatable melt-in-your-mouth texture, while using granulated sugar can make it more crumbly. Different recipes use different amounts of sugar, but I find this one to be just perfect for a sweet crust. If you prefer a less sweet tart, use less sugar.

Eggs
Classic tart dough is usually enriched with eggs or egg yolks. In this recipe, I find that using 1 whole egg is pretty foolproof. If you like to experiment, try substituting the whole egg with 1 egg yolk plus 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream. The latter is actually my preferred version, but if you’re a beginner, stick to the whole egg.

If you don’t weigh your ingredients, you might end up with a dough that’s a bit too dry or wet, but don’t worry. If it’s dry, add a bit of water, and if it’s wet, add a bit of flour.

Perfect Sweet Tart Dough | prettysimplesweet.com
What is blind baking?
Blind baking refers to baking the crust before adding the filling to it. Since the pastry puffs up during baking, you’ll need to bake it with pie weights, dry beans, or uncooked rice. Once the crust is set, you can remove the weights and let it finish cooking. Blind baking would prevent your crust from becoming soggy.

Partially baked crust
would require a shorter baking time than a fully baked crust, but in both cases you’ll need to bake the crust with pie weights, and then a few minutes longer without pie weights.

If your filling should also be baked, you’ll need to add the filling and continue baking until the tart is done.

Here’s a good visual guide on how to use weights when baking a crust.

For step-by-step photos on how to make the crust, check out my pie dough recipe. Although the ingredients are different, the method is the same.

 

Sweet Tart Crust
Yields: one 9 in/23 cm tart crust
 

Buttery, crispy, crumbly tart crust that goes well with any filling.
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups (180 g/6.3 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g/2 oz) powdered sugar (or ¼ cup granulated sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

Instructions
  1. Process flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for a few seconds until combined. If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this by using a pastry cutter. Add butter and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Add egg and vanilla extract and keep pulsing until the dough is no longer dry and starts to clump together, about 10-15 seconds. Do not process to the point that a large ball of dough is formed; rather the dough should be quite crumbly with large clumps. Another way to check if it’s done is to take a piece of dough and press it between your thumbs – the dough should stick without feeling dry or crumbly.
  2. Turn dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. It should come together easily without being sticky. Flatten ball slightly with your hands to form a thick disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. If you don’t want to use the dough right away, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to a month and then thaw overnight in the fridge.
  4. To roll out the dough: Take dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an 11-inch circle, then place gently into a 9-inch tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom); you can do this by flouring a rolling pan and rolling the dough loosely around it, then unrolling it into the pan. Brush away any excess flour on the surface. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the tart pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Frozen dough is less prone to shrinking while baking.
  5. To bake the crust: Preheat oven to 375F/190C and place rack in the center.
  6. Press parchment paper or aluminum foil tightly against the crust, covering the edges to prevent them from burning. Fill with pie weights/dried beans/uncooked rice, making sure they’re fully distributed over the entire surface.
  7. Bake crust for 20 minutes, until foil no longer sticks to the dough. Transfer crust to a wire rack and remove weights and foil.
  8. To partially bake the crust: Bake for 5 minutes longer. You’ll now need to proceed with your tart recipe, add the filling, and finish baking. According to your recipe, the crust should be used either while warm or after it’s been left to cool on a wire rack.
  9. To fully bake the crust: Bake for about 10 minutes longer until golden brown and dry. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

17 Comments on Sweet Tart Crust

  1. Cheryl Patterson
    December 14, 2015 at 9:19 am (1 year ago)

    I have to say I’m not much of a pastry baker, but I am determined to give it a go. Your recipe seems less complicated than some that I have seen in the past and after trying your ‘classic pizza’ last week – yummy by the way – I thought I’d give this a try.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      December 14, 2015 at 10:44 am (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad you like my pizza recipe! Thank you 🙂 You should definitely give it a try, and don’t give up even if it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time you make it!

      Reply
  2. tijana
    December 17, 2015 at 11:02 am (1 year ago)

    i made this today for the lemon tart and the curd ended up pretty good, but the crust shrunk a little bit, even though i followed the recipe and put it in the freezer for 30 min, so the sides weren’t really upright. BUT it all tasted really good so it doesn’t really matter if it didn’t look the best. thank you for your recipes, i think i made at least 5 different things and all of them turned out very delicious.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      December 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm (1 year ago)

      I’m so glad to hear that Tijana! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂 The crust does shrink a bit anyway, but if you follow all the rules it should shrink less, so it’s ok. After you make it a few times, it would look better. It’s just a matter of practice.

      Reply
  3. May_angel55
    January 18, 2016 at 2:19 am (1 year ago)

    Do you have youtube channel coz you deserve to watch ?? i will try your crust coz it seems fancy perfect

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm (1 year ago)

      I don’t have one just yet 🙂 I’m thinking of it though! Maybe one day… But thank you so much for your sweet words! 🙂

      Reply
  4. robyn
    March 3, 2016 at 10:14 am (1 year ago)

    hi! wondering if you could make these individual tarts in cupcake tins? would you still need to weigh them down or would piercing the dough be ok? thanks! robyn

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 3, 2016 at 10:30 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Robyn, yes, you can use a muffin pan for that. Pie weights are always recommended to use and yield the best result, but piercing only should be fine if you don’t mind it puffing up a bit (you can try one first and see if you like the result).

      Reply
  5. najla
    June 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm (10 months ago)

    hey shiran! the recipe is actually brilliant! gonna make it for the family tmw! My question is, if I want to make apple tart, can I bake it right away with the filling? thank you in advance xx

    Reply
    • Shiran
      June 10, 2016 at 7:11 am (9 months ago)

      What kind of tart are you making? I usually prefer using a different dough for my apple pie as explained here, and bake it right away with the filling. For most of my tarts, I prefer blind baking for the tart before adding the filling, so it won’t become soggy. It really depends on the filling.

      Reply
  6. phoebe
    November 16, 2016 at 4:51 am (4 months ago)

    gorgeous recipe! Just wanting to know if it would be okay to bake this tart crust a day in advance?
    thankyou!!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      November 20, 2016 at 10:55 am (4 months ago)

      Yes, it should be ok, just cover it well so it won’t dry out.

      Reply
  7. Hay Magic
    December 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm (3 months ago)

    Can you use a blender instead of a food processor? I don’t have one.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 9, 2017 at 6:23 am (2 months ago)

      Hi, unfortunately you can’t make dough in a blender, but you can use a pastry cutter if you have one.

      Reply
  8. Barbara Shannon
    February 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm (3 weeks ago)

    can i put the dough in a 91/2 glass pie pan? i dont have a tart pan.. i like to try making this dough,,,,,, looks good

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 5, 2017 at 10:15 am (2 weeks ago)

      Hi Barbara, I use this recipe to make an 8 or 9-inch tart. Maybe you should increase the ingredients a bit, just in case.

      Reply
  9. Monica
    March 1, 2017 at 5:08 am (3 weeks ago)

    Hi, Shiran 🙂 after 6 terribly bad tart crusts, your recipe rocked! And not the tart. I used the pastry blender as my food processor works well only for big quantities and it worked so well. Thank you so much for all the explanations.
    Monica

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: