I admit that I love cute little pans, and I have many of them. But, oh, what you can do with a 6-inch tart pan! If you only have a 6-inch cake or pie pan, this will still work, it just won’t have the cute tart shape. In any case, tart pans are not expensive (Sur La Table), so I would encourage you to get one if you are inclined.
This crust is easy, quick, cholesterol free, and can be used for a million fillings– from sweet to savory and back again; from baked to fresh to chilled to frozen– this is your baby! (Or at least it’s my baby, haha.) Just think of the possibilities! But you have to start somewhere, and today we start with the crust.
This is my adapted version of a recipe from a 1970’s Betty Crocker checkerboard cookbook. It has served me well for so long! I started using it in college when I was making and selling “Becky’s Pies,” and ever since then when I need a non-fussy crust. I can never bring myself to do all the (cold butter, food processor, chilling in a disk, rolling on cold marble to hold the temperature, pie weights) work that a martha-style pâte brisée requires, so this is my very worthy second option. (Scale up the recipe for double or decorative pie crusts– get some use out of that 6-inch pie pan!!) But today it’s a tart.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl and mix well with a fork (you don’t want to end up with one extra-salty bite.) Add the vegetable oil and cold water, and stir until the crust comes together, watching the liquid carefully and adding just enough to create a nice dough-ball.
Roll out the dough between silpats, parchment paper, or plastic wrap until you have about a 9-inch circle. Then carefully transfer the dough to the tart pan. Get it carefully in using your fingers, then trim the excess from around the perimeter.
With a fork, carefully poke a bazillion holes in the bottom and sides of the dough. I’m not kidding! Look at the photo for reference. The holes keep the dough from puffing up while blind-baking the crust (this means baking the crust while there is no filling in it.)
Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool before adding the filling of your choice. I have several favorites, some of which I will share in upcoming posts. But get creative here. Especially think of no-bake options like whipped heavy cream or pastry cream or cream cheese with fresh fruit or berries, since we are nearing the height of summer.
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