There are three crust recipes in the Sweet Tarts & Pies section of The Modern Baker. I have used the sweet tart dough several times, always with great results, and I was looking forward to trying the other dough recipes. So when I decided to make the bittersweet chocolate tart, I was happy to see that it called for this dough for the crust.
Unlike most of Nick’s other pie and tart crust recipes, this one starts with room temperature butter, which is mixed with granulated sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer (another departure, as his crust recipes are usually mixed in the food processor). After beating the butter mixture to a light texture and color, an egg yolk is added, then flour is folded in by hand with a rubber spatula.
After mixing the dough, I scraped it out onto a floured board, pressed it into a rough cylinder, and divided it.
The dough was really soft and hard to work with. It seemed like it would benefit from a short rest in the refrigerator, but the recipe said to work with it right away, so that’s what I did.
I pressed the larger piece of dough into the bottom of the pan and worked it in as evenly as possible.
Next, I divided the remaining dough in to three pieces and worked them as best I could into ropes, which I then pressed into the sides of the pan and trimmed to fit.
I covered the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for later. I ended up making the bittersweet chocolate tart the next day, so I waited to bake the shell until then. When I was ready to bake the crust, I took the tart pan out of the refrigerator and pierced the dough with a fork to keep it from forming air pockets as it baked.
I baked the crust at 350°F for 20 minutes, until it was firm and golden. It smelled just like a sugar cookie while it baked, and I was sure it would taste great.
I had some leftover dough, which I shaped into cookies and baked with the crust. They were quite good, so I knew the crust would be perfect for a sweet tart.
This is a great crust that is quick and easy to make and is perfect for those who have a mental block when it comes to rolling out pie and tart doughs. My only issue with it was that the initial dough was too soft to work with and would have benefitted from about 30 minutes in the fridge before attempting to press it into the pan. I made a margin note in the recipe to do it that way next time.