This kitchen-tested pastry crust is buttery and flaky, with a hint of vanilla sugar. The secret to its success is how I prepare the fats: I carefully cream a mixture of butter and shortening together to create a decadent base.
Use this base to make any type of pie or tart. Design your own dessert. Don’t be afraid to morph it into your own flavor profiles and unique desserts!
Below are a few examples of how I have used this excellent recipe.The possibilities are endless!
Apple Petal Tarts
Banana Creme Brule Tarts
Broken Hearted Cherry Pies
Raisin Walnut Custard
Blackberry Cheesecake Tarts
Cranberry Almond Custard Pie
White Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie
Meyer Lemon Pie
Creme Brule Tarts
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup butter-flavored shortening
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup white sugar (I prefer using Vanilla Bean Sugar)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract *optional
Makes enough for two 11” x 2” round tart shells
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add the butter and shortening to a mixer equipped with a paddle attachment and cream together until light and fluffy.
2. Use an offset spatula (also known as an icing spatula) to spread the butter mixture over the parchment paper. The mixture should be spread to form approximately 12” x 9” and should be approximately one inch in thickness.
Freeze the mixture until completely firm and cold and then cut into small cubes with a sharp knife.
4. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade or by using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and pulse briefly to mix the dry ingredients.
Add the small cubes of the butter mixture to the food processor (or mixer) and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Dust your hands in flour when adding the butter to prevent the butter from melting in your hands.
5. Mix the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract together in a bowl and pour through the top of the food processor as it is running. Once the dough begins to form into a ball, stop the machine, turn the dough onto a floured work surface, and sprinkle with flour.
You want the dough to form a smooth paste-like dough. Be very careful and do not over-mix the dough. By overworking the dough, you will make it tough and chewy.
TIP: Blend the ingredients only as much as needed and allow the butter and shortening to be incorporated throughout the entire dough. When this process is done properly, it will produce the most excellent flaky and delicious crust.
6. Form the dough into a round flat disk approximately five inches thick. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and place on a flat tray in the fridge for 15 to 30 minutes. Once the dough has cooled, remove from the plastic wrap and place on a lightly flour-dusted board.
7. Sprinkle the chilled dough with flour and gently begin to roll the dough out on top of a parchment-lined counter with a rolling pin. You may continue to add small amounts of flour to prevent sticking, but try to be very careful with how much flour you use.
Keep a small bowl of flour near you as you work to keep your hands from becoming too warm. If the dough begins to stick to your hands, gently dust them in the flour.
The flour will dry the dough out, so try to use it lightly. You can also use this dough immediately after you make it by pressing the dough into your prepared tin.
8. Freeze for approximately 30 minutes to one hour before baking.
TIP: When pressing the dough into the tart tin, make sure that you don’t make the crust too thick. Press the dough until you can no longer see the sides of the tin. This will guarantee that the shells will be firm enough when you line them and strong enough to hold the weight of the filling.
9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once you have lined your tart tins with the pastry dough, poke the bottom of the crust with a fork. This will prevent the center of the tart shell from puffing up during the baking process Freeze for 30 minutes before baking.
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10. Line each tart shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill with ceramic pie weights or large dried baking beans. Place the shells in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
(If you are preparing this recipe for a baked Pie "Par Bake" the pastry for approximately 20-25 minutes before filling.Once the pastry has baked halfway remove from the oven allow to the crust to cool before filling it with your pie filling and baking. This will ensure you have a crispy bottom to your pie instead of a wet soggy crust.
11. Remove the papers with the weights and continue to bake the shells for another 10 to 12 minutes until golden and crispy. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the pan.
12. Once the shells have cooled completely, gently turn them over and very gently tap them onto a tray that is lined with parchment paper. If for any reason they do not want to release, simply take a small paring knife and loosen around the edges before trying again.
*Caution: Allow the shells to cool completely before attempting to remove them from the tins. The butter needs a chance to solidify and harden. If you remove the shells while the crust is still hot or too warm, they will collapse and break into tiny little delicious crumbs.
you must be patient!
It will be worth it.