A shortbread cookie-like crust instead of a flaky pie-like crust.
|3/8 cup||Butter, lightly salted, 6 tablespoons or 3/4 stick|
|1/4 cup||Butter, unsalted, 4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick, *See Note|
|1/4 cup||Superfine Sugar, *see Note|
|1/2 tsp.||Almond Extract, optional, *see Note|
Cube all the Butter into a medium to large mixing bowl and let set until it softens at room temperature.
Once the butter has softened, add the Superfine Sugar and cream the two together. If using a flavoring, add it now and blend it in. Add the flour and mix on low until it surpasses the crumb stage and clumps into a dough ball consistency, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Transfer the dough to a 9" - 10" tart pan. Press the dough to a uniform thickness along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. A measuring cup with a smooth bottom and whose sides are tapered similar to the pan's sides is a very handy tool for doing this to satisfy the anal retentive like me. Occasionally dusting the outside of the measuring cup with flour will prevent the dough from sticking to it.
Cover the tart shell and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. In order to save time on the day of preparation, I've made it up to this point the day before and refrigerated it in a one gallon Zip-Loc® bag over night.
If your recipe calls for an unbaked tart shell, reference that recipe for finishing. Otherwise, preheat an oven to 350°F and continue.
Remove the shell from the refrigerate and generously prick the bottom through to the pan with a fork to avoid air pockets. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes until tan, i.e., not browned but just beginning to brown. Check for air pockets after 15 minutes of baking and if any, pierce with the fork to release the air, then gently press with the underside of the tines to seal. Remove it from the oven to a cooling rack. Most recipes require it to cool completely before filling and if it does not say otherwise, you should assume a baked tart shell means a completely cooled one.
*You can use all unsalted butter if you add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to it. Decrease the butter by up to 2 tablespoons for a firmer crust or increase the butter by up to 2 tablespoons for a crumbly crust. Superfine Sugar is also sold as Caster Sugar or Baker's Sugar, but regular granulated or powdered sugar will also work. You can replace the Almond Extract with any flavoring appropriate for whatever filling you'll use to fill the tart shell or you can omit flavoring all together.
Caramel Maple Pecan Tart - A maple flavored caramel tart loaded with pecans and topped with chocolate.
Turtle Tart - All the ingredients of turtle candy in a tart shell.
Source: My variation from a recipe on a package of pecans.
Yield: 1 9" tart
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
15g Fat (55.2% calories from fat)
1g Dietary Fiber
Exchanges per Serving:
1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
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