I've been to Paris once in my life. It was a family vacation and I was almost 13 at the time (it's crazy to say that it was almost 20 years ago!!!). Some of my favorite memories from that summer vacation were the French pâtisseries. Having a passion for baking from such a young age, it goes without saying that these memories of the magical French pastry shops would forever stay with me!
Classical French pastries are not only delicious but are beautifully constructed, almost too pretty to consume. I find that the tarts are especially aesthetically pleasing! The time and effort put into these masterpieces are well worth the outcome. And it's important to note that all tarts must begin with a solid foundation, a well constructed tart shell!
The French have several pastry doughs in their repertoire depending on what sweet or savory treat they are making. Today I want to share with you a recipe for one such dough, pâte sucrée. This is a French term referring to a rich, sweetened, short pastry that is used primarily for fresh fruit tarts or cream filled tarts. When referring to 'short,' this means the fat in the dough (butter) shortens the gluten strands by preventing them from fully developing as they would in a baked good such as bread. Consequently, we are left with a tender and crumbly delicious crust.
This recipe will become a basic recipe for you to refer to when making sweet tarts! It yields two 9-inch tart shells or eight 4-inch tart shells. It can easily be made a day ahead. Any extra dough can be frozen for up to 3 months only needing to be thawed overnight in the refrigerator before being rolled out. To achieve a perfect crust, it is important to chill your dough twice. Once after the dough has been mixed and a second time once the dough is in the tart pan.Print