Baking up a good French tart crust is hard. Not actually that hard, but hard to get right. And trying to find something in the store, “ready-made” that will come anywhere close to in comparison to the flaky-buttery goodness of traditional French tart dough is even harder and way less satisfying. Since we have a big-time family reunion coming up in a couple of weeks on the family farm, I wanted to make use of the farm’s rhubarb and wild berry stock. For this flavorful produce, I figured it most fitting to put them on the table in the form of mini-tarts. For the past month I’ve given myself the charge to rework a French-inspired tart dough recipe enough times to get it right. As a result, I’ve made dozens and dozens of mini tartlets. Plus some rustic and some not-so-rustic regular-sized tarts just to keep the natives happy. When you par-bake and then freeze every single tart you create, this can make for some cranky natives. So keep the peace and try this simple French-inspired pastry recipe that will make a versatile and perfect crust – every time.
- 1/2 c unsalted butter
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1/4 c water
- 1 1/2 T sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 1/2 c flour
In an oven safe bowl add all ingredients except the flour. Place the bowl of ingredients in the oven while it preheats to 410 if you just want to bake the tart without filling if for instance you’re doing a cream filling or fresh fruit filling OR just preheat to 350 if you’re planning to bake the dough and the fruit in it. Either 410 or 350, it will be hot and after about 15 minutes the oven will be preheated. Your bowl of melted gold will be bubbly and hot. Carefully remove it. I’ve burned the living daylights out of my hand several times in the past few weeks. It’s easy to forget how hot the bowl handle is! So keep the hot pad in your hand. Just sayin. And carefully but quickly stir in the flour with a fork. Press into 8 mini tartlette pans or one large 9 or 10-in tart pan or a smaller pie/tart pan and leave extra dough hanging off the edge to fold over, as thus:
Fill with your favorite berry filling and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
I typically use five cups of a berry-rhubarb mix with 2 T of cornstarch and about 3/4 c. sugar.
Feel free to play around with sugar substitutes like coconut sugar. Love that stuff.
Mix the sugar and cornstarch together first until no clumps then stir into fruit.
Arrange over crust and bake again at 350 for about 20 minutes.
I’m a big fan of the rustic look.
Also a big fan of my little convection oven brimming with mini-tarts.
Or again, if you want a fresh fruit filling, which would be nice if you have super fresh fruit and a lot of it, then prick the dough all over with a fork after you’ve pressed it not the pan and pre-bake just the crust alone at 410 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before filling. Hope you give this simple tart dough a try. Here’s to hoping I’ve made enough and that I can get all of my eldest cousins:
up on a horse again this year.
And that our adventure race goes slightly more as planned. Sorry, inside joke. But it will certainly be an adventure, that’s for sure.