Tart Making 101

As you may know, I've been on a huge macaron bent lately. Eating and making all things macaron! So, I decided that with an entire 2 months off this summer I would take time to learn how to make tarts. Tarts you say? Yes, tarts such as flans, sweet tarts, rustic tarts, meat pies, you name it, I've never made them before! Let alone making the filling for them or even rolling tart dough from scratch etc.  Just coming back from a trip to Kelowna I had picked some very fresh B.C lapin cherries and was itching to do something with them! 

So with fresh cherries in mind and a little inspiration from Pragati over at Get Fresh with Food, I decided on a chocolate ganache tart with a Pâte Sucrée shell.  Here's my first attempt at them (below).

So not to a bad start! However, I feel that I could have cooked the crust a lot more! I'm so used to the precision of macaron making, that I didn't realize that tart dough has way more flexibility. Cooking longer than the prescribed 10 minutes, while blind baking, is completely fine! Tarts from both my attempts were made with the pâte sucrée crust. Then, filled with a lovely chocolate ganache recipe from Pragati

The next day, I decided to try again using the same recipe and the pate sucree dough.  Attempt number 2 was much better- aesthetically that is. What do you think? 

Pate sucree shell filled with chocolate ganache and topped with
blueberries and freshly picked B.C cherries.
Nicely browned tart shells. Oh, and yes, those are pitted & halved
 cherries you see on the tart!
So fresh & big!
Over my self-taught tart making 101 endeavors,  I've learned that there are many many different doughs that can be used! The pâte sucrée is especially brilliant for tarts/flans as it tends to hold its shape well during cooking. This dough also has a high proportion of sugar and needs to be chilled for at least an hour before using.

This recipe can make enough for 9inch flan tin/quiche pan. For both of my attempts I had enough to cover four, 4 inch tart tins with some left over for an extra one or two tarts. You could also use the remaining dough for 'rustic' tarts (pushing dough into muffin tins and leaving some space for the filling.

Pâte Sucrée (makes about 275g or 10 oz)

  • 150g (1 1/4 cups) All purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 75 g (6 tbsp) diced & chilled butter
  • 25g (1/4 cup) icing sugar (sifted)
  • 2 egg yolks
Part 1: Making the Dough

1. Sift flour and salt together and make a mount on a marble slab, pastry board or cold work surface (take ice cubes & ice the surface ahead of time). 
2. Make a well in the center and put in the chilled & cut butter.
3. Sift icing sugar on top.

4. Place egg yolks on top of the pile.

5. Using on your fingertips and a pecking action, work the butter, yolks and sugar together. The mixture should look like scrambled eggs.

5. As you go along, being to incorporate the rest of the flour.
6. Continue doing this until all the flour has been worked in and you have a dough.
7. Add a bit of egg whites if the pastry becomes too crumbly.
8. Once you have a dough, lightly knead the dough with the heel of your hand pushing the front portion of the dough away from you (1 minute) - this process is known as fresage. You want to have a smooth and pliable dough.
9. Once smooth and pliable, shape the dough into a ball. Flatten slightly, then saran wrap.

10. Chill dough for 1 hour in the fridge before using.
11. If you're using a marble slab, return that to the fridge as well so it will be cold when rolling out the dough.

Part II: Rolling out the dough

To get a nice visual demonstration, click on over to this video on how to roll out your pastry and to line a pastry tin.
Roll out the pastry lightly and evenly in one direction.
Turn the pastry 45 degrees each time to keep an even shape
and thickness. 
Loosely roll the pastry around the rolling pin. If using small
tins, place them all beside each other and roll the pastry round and rolling
pin over the far edge of the tins and towards yourself.
Allow the pastry to drape into the tin. 
Using floured fingers, gently press the pastry into the tin. 
Roll the rolling pin over the top of the tin to cut off any excess dough.
Saran wrap, then chill in fridge for 30 min to allow the pastry to rest.
This will help prevent the pastry from shrinking while baking.

Part III: Blind Baking

After 30 minutes of chilling in the fridge, prick the bottom of the tarts with a fork. Then put down parchment paper and then the baking beans. Baking beans will help weigh down the tart cases and prevent the dough from bubbling up. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400F (depending on oven). Then, remove paper and beans, baking for another 5-10 minutes. You want them to look golden brown!

Part IV: Making of the chocolate ganache

Now that you have your tart shells, you can finally fill them! For the chocolate filling recipe click on over to Get Fresh with Food's post on chocolate tarts! Below are some pictures from my try at them! 

Delicious 72% Valrhona Araguani dark chocolate with
whipping cream & sugar.
Tart shells filled and ready for the oven.

Part V: Eating!

Allow the tarts to cool in the fridge, then top with desired fruits! The cherry and blueberry topping was perfect for my first experience at making tarts! Raspberries would also make a wonderful combination with the chocolate.

To help guide me through this tart making process I referenced a nifty book that I received as a bridal shower present. It's titled Pastry: The complete art of pastry making by Catherine Atkinson. I found it really helpful for my first time, with lots of pictures and separate sections devoted to doughs, crusts, and various types of tarts and pies.


  1. wow! you were right - so labor intensive, but looks so great i'm sure it was worth it!

    my fav step: V - eating!

    love your step by step instruction & photo's ; beautiful job!

    su :)

  2. @supersu: thanks for the comments! I did enjoy making them and will do so again soon! :) Yes, my favourite step is definitely "step 5" as well! All that hard work pays off!


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