Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweet Tart Dough

I'm horrible at getting gifts for people, so I asked my office mate what she'd like for her birthday. Her choice? The french lemon cream pie I'd made for Christmas and given her leftovers from before I left town to celebrate New Year's. I grumbled over the thought of making the same thing over again within a month and then she upped the ante ... she thought I should make the crust too. I don't make pie crusts. It's some sort of mental block. I thought this one was a disaster when I pulled it out of the oven (I didn't even fill the tart due to my distrust), but in the end, it was good. And the best part? It didn't require any rolling. I'm not sure I'll switch to making my own crust all of the time, but at least I know it can be done!

This is supposed to be enough dough for 1 9" tart, but I had extra.

One Year Ago: Cranberry Pecan Bread

Sweet Tart Dough (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons (128g) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

1. Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
3. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. [Patience! It will come together, it just may take some time. Also, be careful not to overfill your food processor. If yours is on the smooth side, you may have to do this part in batches.)
4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
5. To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don't be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.
6. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
7. To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
8. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.)
9. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
10. To fully bake the crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling.

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