Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
rodyan

Tart crust cracks in half when cut

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

When I making tarts with pate sucree, I blind bake the crust as directed . And when I cut the tart, the dough cracks in the middle in two or more halves. This doesn't happens when I don't blind bake the crust.

Absolutely not happy about this as these tarts are planned to be for sale (well, one day).

My guesses:

1. Too long to blind bake? I am aiming nice light caramel color of the dough. Even though the sides are browning faster than the bottom.

2. The crust is too thin (I usually make it about 4 mm or 0.15748 inch thick, as directed as well!) and perhaps it over dries? My bottom crust looks like this: http://parispatisseries.smugmug.com/Pastries/Paris-Patisseries/i-MKpx3RQ/1/XL/lapatisseriedesrevestartecitron4-XL.jpg

But sides are much thinner (also 4mm)

Your suggestions?

p.s. I made Tarte Au Citron by Jacques Genin and a fruit tart with pastry cream.

I brushed the second one with chocolate before filling with pastry cream as I was afraid that the crust would become soggy, however it was my mistake, the crust was dry already and the chocolate made it overly dry as didn't allow any moisture to go in. As a result it didn't went well with pastry cream: harsh crust + subtle cream. Nah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pâte Sucrée is very often a dough similar to a sugar cookie, shortbread or sable. -If cut and baked, and maybe iced, you'd call it a cookie; made with the creaming method. This is what I was taught to call sucrée in culinary school. Some authors use the term for a lightly sweetened pie crust type dough, made with the cut-in method. Knowing which type you are attempting would be useful.

It sounds like too much gluten development. Dryness shouldn't be an issue, one always wants a dry crust as no one likes a soggy bottom. Most crusts should be flaky or crumbly when cut, because the dough is 'short' without much gluten.

Are you using pastry or cake flour? (AP flour varies in gluten content by region in the US, in the North and West, it's almost bread flour. In the South, it's almost cake flour, because it's mostly used or biscuits.) In some regions, AP flour is very high in gluten.

Is your work area cold, 72°F or less? Is you fat worked in cold? Are any liquids added cold? If you have 'hot hands' are you wearing gloves?

Are you mixing and rolling as little as possible?

Are you resting the dough in the fridge after rolling out and after cutting?

All of these things affect gluten development. Without watching every step, or knowing the recipe, it's hard to say where things are going wrong.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Lisa said. It sounds like your pastry is tough, like you may be torturing it with the rolling pin. Gently. Bring it to a rolling texture in a cool kitchen so you don't have to beat it to death. Also, your pic does look a bit crumbly, like a shortbread-type tart dough. This is sturdy for small tarts with heavy fillings especially, and in general is easier and more forgiving to work with, but any pastry suffers from overworking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pâte Sucrée is very often a dough similar to a sugar cookie, shortbread or sable. -If cut and baked, and maybe iced, you'd call it a cookie; made with the creaming method. This is what I was taught to call sucrée in culinary school. Some authors use the term for a lightly sweetened pie crust type dough, made with the cut-in method. Knowing which type you are attempting would be useful.

Yes, that is Pâte Sucrée I am working with. Creaming method and when baked, the crust is like a cookie, quite fragile, breaks easily. I used Pierre Herme recipe for my fruit tart and Jacques Genin's for my citron tart.

It sounds like too much gluten development. Dryness shouldn't be an issue, one always wants a dry crust as no one likes a soggy bottom. Most crusts should be flaky or crumbly when cut, because the dough is 'short' without much gluten.

Hmm, so perhaps that is what it should be, and that is just me, who expects something else?

Are you using pastry or cake flour? (AP flour varies in gluten content by region in the US, in the North and West, it's almost bread flour. In the South, it's almost cake flour, because it's mostly used or biscuits.) In some regions, AP flour is very high in gluten.

Yes, I use cake flour. But I'm not from U.S. so I trust the label on the package..

Is your work area cold, 72°F or less? Is you fat worked in cold? Are any liquids added cold? If you have 'hot hands' are you wearing gloves?

Well.. I wouldn't say so, I use regular kitchen table, air temp is around 75F. Recipe states to use room temperature butter, cream all ingredients and then add flour, quickly mix and put to the fridge for 2h. Then roll the dough and fridge again. Then put the dough to the form and then fridge overnight. So I am working with cold dough and not really touching it a lot, except when putting it to the form, and only with my fingertips (well, I hope). But this may be the issue?

Are you mixing and rolling as little as possible?

Yes

Are you resting the dough in the fridge after rolling out and after cutting?

Yes

All of these things affect gluten development. Without watching every step, or knowing the recipe, it's hard to say where things are going wrong.

Here is the recipe

original:

http://www.lefooding.com/la-toquera/toquera-101-la-tarte-au-citron.html

translated

http://artfulfood.blogspot.com/2012/06/jacque-genin-lime-tart.html

I did all what was stated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Lisa said. It sounds like your pastry is tough, like you may be torturing it with the rolling pin. Gently. Bring it to a rolling texture in a cool kitchen so you don't have to beat it to death. Also, your pic does look a bit crumbly, like a shortbread-type tart dough. This is sturdy for small tarts with heavy fillings especially, and in general is easier and more forgiving to work with, but any pastry suffers from overworking.

I wouldn't say it is tough, it is more like cookie, very fragile and dry, breaks easily.. I am trying to work with it as little as possible, plus it is extremely hard (nearly impossible) to work with warm pate sucree, and it warms very quickly! So I try to be very careful.

The picture is not mine, sorry for confusion. It is just for showing the "thickness" purposes..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a traditional recipe there, the almonds don't help it hold together (they get crispy when baked) and the cornstarch in the icing sugar is partly causing your problem. I'd start with the basic plain recipe first to get an idea of what it's supposed to be like.

Also, you never touch dough when placing it in the tart pan or flan ring. You use a tart tamper or, for minis, a mini tart tamper. Hands are warm and constantly giving off small amounts of steam which helps gluten development and can ruin pastry texture. Also, pressing with the fingertips pulls the dough unevenly which can lead to uneven baking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Lisa, apparently both recipes I've got uses same ingredients (almonds + icing sugar).

What basic recipe would you suggest to use for pâte sucrée?


Edited by rodyan (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a basic formula:

250g Butter

100g Sugar (regular, granulated)

2g Salt

2g Grated Lemon Zest

4 drops Vanilla Extract

---

100g Eggs, Beaten

-----

400g Pastry Flour

-Creaming method: add the eggs a little bit at a time, mixing well between each addition, barely mix in flour, use your bowl scraper to do the final folding-in of flour. Chill until firm and chill after each time you work it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a traditional recipe there, the almonds don't help it hold together (they get crispy when baked) and the cornstarch in the icing sugar is partly causing your problem. I'd start with the basic plain recipe first to get an idea of what it's supposed to be like.

Also, you never touch dough when placing it in the tart pan or flan ring. You use a tart tamper or, for minis, a mini tart tamper. Hands are warm and constantly giving off small amounts of steam which helps gluten development and can ruin pastry texture. Also, pressing with the fingertips pulls the dough unevenly which can lead to uneven baking.

Lest anyone think that the mini tart tamper is a ridiculous gadget because that one is from Pampered Chef (who, to be fair, do a pretty good line in ridiculous gadgets) - they are really so insanely helpful. When I lived in the UK I would often make large batches of mincemeat pies for friends and family using muffin tins (better crust-to-filling ratio than in a shallower tart shape) and when I got a properly sized tamper it was like night and day - the crust always came out perfectly and with no weird thin spots because I accidentally poked too hard with a fingertip here, etc. Plus it's so much faster in my experience because there's less fiddling around - the tamper pushes the dough evenly into the pan and since the force on the dough is pretty uniform if you have a large enough tamper, the dough isn't nearly as inclined to tear.

That was using a crust recipe which, while not labeled pâte sucrée, sounds quite similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the flat bottom of a narrow juice glass to tamp. Works like a charm, and you can chill it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the flat bottom of a narrow juice glass to tamp. Works like a charm, and you can chill it.

That usually works out ok. But, commercial kitchens avoid using glass for tasks like this because if your hand slips and it falls and breaks, not only does the whole kitchen immediately have to be cleaned from top to bottom, any food that is out or open (on prep areas, on the steam table, on the stove cooking, on speed racks cooling, on the pass waiting for a server, bins with lids off for a moment) has to be tossed out. The OP is trying to teach herself professional baking, and it's probably best that she work with equipment used in a professional kitchen.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the flat bottom of a narrow juice glass to tamp. Works like a charm, and you can chill it.

That usually works out ok. But, commercial kitchens avoid using glass for tasks like this because if your hand slips and it falls and breaks, not only does the whole kitchen immediately have to be cleaned from top to bottom, any food that is out or open (on prep areas, on the steam table, on the stove cooking, on speed racks cooling, on the pass waiting for a server, bins with lids off for a moment) has to be tossed out. The OP is trying to teach herself professional baking, and it's probably best that she work with equipment used in a professional kitchen.

My tamper thing is smooth metal, so it could be chilled if desired I imagine. Got it in the uk, can't remember where.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your advises and help!

Getting back to original question, I understood the answer was over development of gluten due to warmth and untraditional recipes.

OK, will give Lisa's recipe a go and will report after.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a basic formula:

250g Butter

100g Sugar (regular, granulated)

2g Salt

2g Grated Lemon Zest

4 drops Vanilla Extract

---

100g Eggs, Beaten

-----

400g Pastry Flour

-Creaming method: add the eggs a little bit at a time, mixing well between each addition, barely mix in flour, use your bowl scraper to do the final folding-in of flour. Chill until firm and chill after each time you work it.

Lisa, do you know the weight of the final dough? About 1kg?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a basic formula:

250g Butter

100g Sugar (regular, granulated)

2g Salt

2g Grated Lemon Zest

4 drops Vanilla Extract

---

100g Eggs, Beaten

-----

400g Pastry Flour

-Creaming method: add the eggs a little bit at a time, mixing well between each addition, barely mix in flour, use your bowl scraper to do the final folding-in of flour. Chill until firm and chill after each time you work it.

Lisa, do you know the weight of the final dough? About 1kg?

Looks like about 855g.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree. Pâte sucrée tends to be much more forgiving in terms of gluten than any other tart pastry. The problem is possibly the thickness (4mm is really thick, for most tarts you want around 2mm) or that you haven't rested it enough.

Rest it for 24 hours, then roll it out. So much easier.

I use a different recipe, stolen when I was an apprentice. It uses egg yolks only, plus milk, and gives a great texture. It's also really easy to work with.

Ingredients:

Flour 400g

Butter 200g

Egg yolks 120g

Icing sugar 70g

Milk (lukewarm) 30g

Salt 8g

1. Sift flour onto a large piece of greaseproof paper.

2. Warm butter until very soft (almost liquid, but without breaking the emulsion).

3. Whip butter until white.

4. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks and icing sugar. Whip until pale and creamy.

5. Incorporate milk and salt.

6. Pour the egg mixture into the whipped butter, and whisk to fully combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is homogenous.

7. Pour the sifted flour into the butter mixture.

8. Mix with a wooden spoon (or mixer paddle) until fully combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl again.

9. Scrape onto cling film, wrap, press flat and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.

10. Knead gently until pliable. Roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin.

11. Cut a circle around 2cm larger than your tart circle/tin in the pastry.

12. Line the tin, ensuring you've pushed the dough into the bottom edge all the way round (to avoid the sides collapsing in the oven). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

13. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

14. Remove the dough from the fridge and trim the edges with a paring knife. Prick the base with a fork.

15. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool before unmolding.

It gives you something like this:

Lemon tart.jpg


Edited by jmacnaughtan (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never found pate sucree difficult to work with if properly chilled and not handled much. It just isn't applicable for many of the tart shells/pie crusts that I need. I'll make it for a specialty tart with pastry crème, but in general it is so rich that it is unbalances the fruit tarts we like.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great! Thanks a lot!

How do you find it when cutting, is it crunchy like a cookie or a bit soft? Mine is crunchy and it tends to break through the whole pie (bye bye runny filling). And you say it is too thick and thus not gentle enough, ok will give 2mm a go!

I disagree. Pâte sucrée tends to be much more forgiving in terms of gluten than any other tart pastry. The problem is possibly the thickness (4mm is really thick, for most tarts you want around 2mm) or that you haven't rested it enough.

Rest it for 24 hours, then roll it out. So much easier.

I use a different recipe, stolen when I was an apprentice. It uses egg yolks only, plus milk, and gives a great texture. It's also really easy to work with.

Ingredients:

Flour 400g

Butter 200g

Egg yolks 120g

Icing sugar 70g

Milk (lukewarm) 30g

Salt 8g

1. Sift flour onto a large piece of greaseproof paper.

2. Warm butter until very soft (almost liquid, but without breaking the emulsion).

3. Whip butter until white.

4. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks and icing sugar. Whip until pale and creamy.

5. Incorporate milk and salt.

6. Pour the egg mixture into the whipped butter, and whisk to fully combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is homogenous.

7. Pour the sifted flour into the butter mixture.

8. Mix with a wooden spoon (or mixer paddle) until fully combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl again.

9. Scrape onto cling film, wrap, press flat and refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably overnight.

10. Knead gently until pliable. Roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin.

11. Cut a circle around 2cm larger than your tart circle/tin in the pastry.

12. Line the tin, ensuring you've pushed the dough into the bottom edge all the way round (to avoid the sides collapsing in the oven). Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

13. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

14. Remove the dough from the fridge and trim the edges with a paring knife. Prick the base with a fork.

15. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool before unmolding.

It gives you something like this:

attachicon.gifLemon tart.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By pastrygirl
      If so, what was it like?  Sounds similar to kouign-aman ... https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-44486529
       
       
    • By highchef
      we're all used to the Wednesday/Sunday food sections of newspapers far and wide, national and local. I see corrections in the local or regional columns when called for, but there's never a way to critique the ones published on a national scale because the content is behind a paywall. I get the WSJ, but don't want to pay additional (I should get access to it all on line for free-the newspaper is not cheap) for their online edition. Very frustrating to try a recipe and have major problems with it and not be able to point out some serious issues. Specifically, the WSJ published a recipe from Dee Retalli, a pastry chef in London who's recipe is in the cookbook 'Rustic' by Jorge Fernandez and Rich Wells. 
      I have made this cake 3 times.
      First time was a total runover disaster, which I should have foreseen. This cakes calls for a 10" springform or if you don't have that, a 10" cast iron skillet. I went for the latter because that is what I had. Almond mixtures tend to really smoke when they run over, just so you know.
      Tried again later with a deeper than normal 9 " springform. Happened again. Think it has to do with the 2 teaspoons of baking powder and quick activation in a 350º oven.
      Invested in a 10" springform for '3rd times a charm' try. I was successful, but not because I followed the directions, rather I became a little obsessed with making this work. Checked my oven, followed with the recipe and eyed it warily. It came up to the brim...and stayed. 45 minutes later it was supposed to be done but while it was beautiful, it was a bowl of jello in the center. It was also browning at an alarming rate- the almond flour again? So I placed a sheet of tinfoil over it (beautiful top crust) and turned the oven down to 325º and carefully watched and tested for almost another hour. That's a big time difference. 
      I found the recipe on cooked.com - credited to the above authors and cookbook albeit in Euro style measures and temps. All seems the same, so what are the odds that the recipe was misprinted twice from 2 different media?
      All I can think of is somewhere down the line (in the cookbook itself?) the cook time and temp were off. The time on both reads 45 min. The recipe took at least 1hr and 45 minutes. methinks someone left out the hour...
      The temp. thing is a little more obvious. Celcius to farenheight 350ºF does not equal 180ºC, more like 176ºC. Over almost 2 hours, I think that could make the difference between cooked and burnt? Sooo, I turned it down when I saw how fast it was browning to 325.
      The cake stays in form while you pour the honey over it, then orange water, then 2(!!!) cups of sliced toasted almonds. I put 1 cup and there is no way another cup would have stayed on that cake. I cup settled up to almost an inch on a 10" cake...
      Has anyone else tried this recipe or have the cookbook? It's a wonderful cake if you correct the time and temp., But I'd be really curious to see if anyone followed it exactly as written with success?
       
    • By Longblades
      How much minute tapioca do you use to thicken pie fillings? I read through every one of the rhubarb pie posts and no, the recommended amount is NOT on the box I just purchased.
      I will be making rhubarb pie but also apple, sour cherry, raspberry and blueberry later in the season. I will freeze most of the pies, unbaked, but would appreciate knowing what amounts you use for immediate baking as well. Also, I will be using tinfoil pie plates that say they are 10" but I think are really more like 9 inchers. They certainly do not hold anywhere near as much as my 10" pyrex pie plate.
      I tried tapicoa years and years ago and decided I preferred flour but my sister now has a gluten allergy so I'm going to try tapioca again. That way she can at least scrape out the filling and eat it. Can I just substitute equal amounts of minute tapioca for the flour?
      My method with the flour has been to mix it with the sugar and sprinkle some on the bottom crust, then a layer of fresh fruit. then a sprinkle of flour/sugar, with usually only two of three layers of fruit and finishing with a sprinkle of the flour/sugar. Can I do that with the tapioca?
      Oh, and strawberries in the rhubarb pie? No way, DH would kill me. Rhubarb is his favourite and he says strawberries contaminate a rhubarb pie.
    • By pastrygirl
      Cake construction question - I have a wedding cake order next month for about 175 people.  I think it's going to be 14" round, 12" round, double-height 9" round, and a separated 6" layer with her great-grandma's cake topper.
       
      My question is about the double-height layer.  Should I layer cake and filling as usual  but just make it super tall, or will whomever has to cut the thing appreciate it if there's a goo-free zone of cake-cardboard-cake in the middle so they can separate it into 2 x 9" cakes or more easily cut it?  I mean, I could make two regular layers with 5 layers of cake and 4 layers of filling, not frost the top of one and just stack the other on top, or I could make one giant cake with 10 layers of cake, 9 filling, and no cardboard in the middle.  I almost never have to cut cakes so I don't know if it matters but I thought I'd ask.  The filling will either be salty caramel or raspberry, and the icing will be meringue buttercream, not as sturdy to handle as a crusting icing or fondant.
       
      Or any other tips on giant wedding cakes?  Thanks!
    • By WhiskerBiscuit
      I’m using this recipe to try and make a perfect rice pudding.
       
      Ingredients:
       
      1-2 Tbsp medium-grain white rice, such as arborio (often called risotto rice), calriso, or another california-grown rice--do not wash! 2/3 c additional long-grain or short-grain rice to make 2/3 cups rice total 4 c milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or a combination) 1/3-1/2 c sugar, to taste 1 tsp pure vanilla extract   Recipe:   Place the rice and milk in the rice cooker bowl; stir to combine. Close the cover and set for the Porridge cycle. When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, open the rice cooker, and add the sugar and vanilla, quickly stirring it into the rice milk mixture. Stir until combined. Close the cover and reset for a second Porridge cycle. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes until the desired consistency is reached. Warning: cooking the sugar for more than about 1/2-hour makes the pudding difficult to clean from the rice cooker bowl, so don't add sugar at the beginning of cooking (although the rice pudding comes out fine)! Rice mixture will thicken as it cools. If it comes out too thick, just add more milk.    I initially tried it out using all arborio rice (because that’s all I head on hand), but as the recipe noted it came out too starchy.  However it was really good, but not what I was looking for.  The second time I used the suggested rice mixture.  But looking at other recipes and Kozy Shack’s ingredient list, I decided to add a couple of egg yolks.  At the end of the second porridge cycle (total cooking time 90 minutes) I added two coddled egg yolks (I almost pasteurized them with my sous vide, but that was a little overboard even for me).  The texture was a little too thick, so I added a tablespoon or so of milk and then thought it was too thin so I kept with the porridge cycle.  I checked about 15 minutes later and my thick porridge all of a sudden became a liquid soup.  I kept cooking and after an hour it reduced to the thickness I wanted, but the rice broke almost completely down.  What I want to know is what happened to make it go from a thick porridge to soup in a very short amount of time.  Was it adding the egg yolks?  There has got to be some science-y reason behind it.    
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×