Posted by: marthabernie | April 27, 2014

SHORTCRUST PASTRY FOR TARTS

Someone asked me the other day about the differences between regular pie crust pastry and “shortcrust” pastry.  Shortcrust usually has some sugar and combines both butter and vegetable shortening rather than just shortening, which is generally used in regular pie crust pastry.  Below is a shortcrust recipe.  The secret is in keeping the ingredients really cold and making sure not to stretch the pastry when you fit it ino the shells.

SHORTCRUST PASTRY FOR TRADITIONAL TARTS

1-1/4 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, diced or grated (I freeze mine first)

2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons or more (up to 5 tablespoons) ice cold water

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and place in the freezer 30 minutes.  Once chilled, cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry cutter or two forks, until the mixture is crumbly and pieces are the size of peas.  Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture come together in a dough.  Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  After dough is refrigerated, roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness, and fi it into individual tart pans.  Be careful not to stretch the dough or it will shrink during baking.  Cut off any excess by rolling the rolling pin across the top of each tart pan.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the tart dough and cover with dried beans or rice.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the beans or rice and parchment paper, prick the bottom of the tart shells all over with a fork, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside to cool, then fill with any kind of fruit, cream cheese or other filling.  For quick tarts, use Cool Whip topped with fresh berries.


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