Baking Basics: How to make tartlette shells
Let me start by saying, I have never found the saying, “Easy as pie” entirely accurate. I like to think the person who coined that phrase was referring to a crustless pie or a pie made with a graham cracker crust.
I find working with any pastry not so easy. I’m always worried about whether I’m mixing it enough, over working it, is my butter getting too warm-all things that make me think twice before making any recipe that includes a tart or pie crust.
After trying a few recipes, I like Our Chocolate Shavings’ tart shell as my go-to recipe. Of course I like it, because it was success with ease. The recipe is written clearly and concisely, with little tid bits that most other recipes take for granted. You’ll see what I mean when you read it for yourself, especially the part about smearing out the dough. I have not seen or read that elsewhere and I found it most useful.
I am assuming there are others like me that like instructional pictures next to their written directions. With that in mind, I put together a quick how-to pictorial. Sorry, for the low quality pictures, but you get the idea from the pics. As many of you know, I have a crappy camera made worse by the bad lighting in my kitchen. I’m hoping to trade in my hunk of junk soon. . . .anyone want to sell their old DSLR?
A few notes:
1. Click here for the recipe: http://bit.ly/cS2dck
2. Asking a novice like to me work quickly with pastry is like asking a turtle to move faster—it’s a feat I have yet to reach. So to make sure my butter stays cold while working it, I cut it into cubes the night before.
3. I didn’t have tart rings or baking beans, so I had to improvise with a muffin pan, some cupcake liners and rice. Butter each hole and fill it with dough cut from a three inch round cutter (I only had a scalloped one). Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork as instructed in the recipe and then place a cupcake liner on top of the dough and fill it with rice or beans. The weight of the rice will prevent the pastry dough from puffing up and the cupcake liner will make for easy removal when done.
4. You’ll also notice when you remove them, the pleated siding of the cupcake paper imprints itself into the dough. That won’t matter since you will be filling it up anyhow.
5. I will be filling my tart shells with lemon curd for some Lemon Meringue Bites. See you in a few days for this post.