One Calamity, But a Perfect Pastry Emerges

The pear and almond tart turned out so beautifully that I reproduced it at the weekend, but this time also did the pastry from scratch. I am a bit of a pie purist and truly believe that the effort of one’s hands makes for a tastier pie, and gives you control over the ingredients. As you probably know, one normally makes shortcrust pastry by cutting up cold butter into cubes, turning that into a breadcrumby mixture with sugar, processing everything with flour and a hint of salt, then possibly adding an egg yolk and/or water to bring it all together. This dough then sits in the fridge an hour to relax before it’s rolled out, placed in a tart pan, pricked with a fork and baked.

Enter the no-roll, no-fridge, no-processing, quick-mix pastry.

A friend in France said that she knew some baking types to bake the butter and sugar first when they prepare tart dough. I’m familiar with how you introduce heat to the making of choux pastry  (the butter is melted first with some sugar) but not for tarts, so I did some research and was intrigued by David Levovitz’s account of how he observed Paule Caillat, who teaches cooking in Paris, make tart dough by baking a butter/oil/sugar mixture in the oven for 15 minutes, then adding flour.

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November 25, 2009. Tags: . Autumn, Baked Goods, Desserts, winter. 1 comment.