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DeanTheBaker

How do they make tart shells so perfect?

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I've been trying to find tips and techniques to improve my tart shells,

They taste fine, but look ugly as hell.. there are bumps, holes, ridges, etc.
 

And i see those perfect tart shells uploaded by pastry chefs (see below)
They are perfectly flat, neat, and uniform.
Would appreciate if anyone can provide any insights on how to achieve this level of perfection.

(They don't seem to use any kind of weights (baking beans) when blind-baking, but i have no idea why their shells are so flat and do not rise at all.)

Thanks!

12916841_564160707076563_4262210311221196610_o.thumb.jpg.896b1a45d83725ab9a0aa514c496c570.jpg14691401_653529544806345_7452152977146839809_o.thumb.jpg.26a3047c140c35d96f8f98f2dc99bead.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Perforated tart frames.

 

Some people freeze their dough and make perfect strips etc with a ruler. You should also have a perforated silpat and a baking tray to let air go through. Some have pro equipment to make the dough perfect when rolled out.

 

That's the short story I guess, and technique. Years of practice I guess? And maybe some Photoshop?

 

You can do pretty good with the right tools, this is my first ever attempt on a tart shell;

 

image.thumb.png.0c49155871f0c1fefe52d5436689300f.png


Edited by Rajala Spelling (log)
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9 minutes ago, Rajala said:

Perforated tart frames.

 

Some people freeze their though and make perfect strips etc with a ruler. You should also have a perforated silpat and a baking tray to let air go through. Some have pro equipment to make the dough perfect when rolled out.

 

That's the short story I guess, and technique. Years of practice I guess? And maybe some Photoshop?

 

You can do pretty good with the right tools, this is my first ever attempt on a tart shell;

 

image.thumb.png.0c49155871f0c1fefe52d5436689300f.png

 

3


Thanks @Rajala for your swift response.
I have the silpat but im not sure what kind of baking tray you are refering to.
Is it something like this?
https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/perforated-flat-baking-tray
https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/aluminium-non-stick-micro-perforated-pastry-tray
https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/micro-perforated-tray-in-hard-aluminium-oblique-edges


Your lemon meringue tart looks so perfect, and that's your first attempt?! WOW 😮

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Part recipe, part technique, I'd imagine.  As Rajala mentioned, some bakers cut a separate strip of dough for the sides of the tart to make an even thickness and square corners rather than putting dough in and smooshing it up the sides.  They also use a microplane to clean up any rough edges after baking.

 

Maybe they use weights and just aren't showing every step?  It does seem hard to believe that the sides stay vertical in the oven without support.

 

I've also seen some posts of a tart shell forming and baking machine where you put a blob of dough into each cavity then the top part of the machine comes down and presses it into shape then bakes it.

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12 minutes ago, DeanTheBaker said:


Thanks @Rajala for your swift response.
I have the silpat but im not sure what kind of baking tray you are refering to.
Is it something like this?
 https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/perforated-flat-baking-tray
https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/aluminium-non-stick-micro-perforated-pastry-tray
https://www.debuyer.com/en/products/micro-perforated-tray-in-hard-aluminium-oblique-edges


Your lemon meringue tart looks so perfect, and that's your first attempt?! WOW 😮

 

Yeah, any of those would do. That will help the air flow through much better and will reduce any air bubbles forming. Important in this is also to make sure that there aren't any lumps of butter in the dough. I'm not an expert though, just a hobby so there are probably some good tips you can get from other posters on the forum :) 

 

As pastrygirl mention, those machines as well. I can't imagine that Dinara Kasko have such a machine though. No, I just watched the video, you can see that she's been using perforated tart frames. I too, can't think of how they get them that good without any weights. I was taught to use heat proof saran wrap and rice instead of stones. I guess you can do it in a lot of different ways!

 

Thanks, the tart turned out pretty good. Was happy with the result. I'm about to order some square/rectangle frames from Pavoni and see if I can make something nice with them.

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45 minutes ago, Rajala said:

I too, can't think of how they get them that good without any weights. I was taught to use heat proof saran wrap and rice instead of stones. I guess you can do it in a lot of different ways!

1

 

52 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

Maybe they use weights and just aren't showing every step?  It does seem hard to believe that the sides stay vertical in the oven without support.

 


On one of Polly Kosheleva's instagram posts, someone asked her what kind of weights she used, and she replied that she didn't use any.

(The conversion is in Russian though.)
2052171175_tartshells.thumb.JPG.f203d2644d35204914ba5cbc109ba1f9.JPG

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Well, looking at that picture, they don't really look perfect though. If we should be really picky. :) 

 

I've never done it without weights so not sure what the result will be.

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1 minute ago, Rajala said:

Well, looking at that picture, they don't really look perfect though. If we should be really picky. :) 

 

I've never done it without weights so not sure what the result will be.

 

Well.. after a second look, i guess you're right. XD
They look quite different from the photo from my first post.
(At first, I just assumed that she'd use the same process for all for tart shells.)

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5 minutes ago, Rajala said:

I've never done it without weights so not sure what the result will be.

 

I never make things that require blind baking so i don't have to mess around with weights 😊

 

oops, except for mini tartlets, but I have some smaller tartlet tins that I put inside the larger dough-filled ones instead of messing around with tiny scraps of foil or parchment.  They have sloped sides and slip out easily after baking, wouldn't work with vertical sides.

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Posted (edited)

You can see a couple of the previously mentioned tips in this video.

 

I find clingfilm (plastic wrap) and rice work best for blind baking. It really helps with defined corners.  For conventional lining, try folding the pastry outside the ring to combat shrinkage. Then, for clean edges, use a microplane. All three are employed here.

 

With a bit of practice you'll be surprised how straightforward it is. This lemon tart looks alright, and I ain't no pro.

 

1689055260_LemonTart.thumb.jpg.1cf9f3a10c0bceb3b605e74ebb08abd5.jpg

 

For the fully baked, empty shells you've posted, the 'secret' is really just well made pâté sucrée that's rested and doesn't shrink much, combined with good lining technique and a bit of post-bake shaving to neaten up any rough edges.

 

 


Edited by Pete Fred (log)
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1 hour ago, Pete Fred said:

For conventional lining, try folding the pastry outside the ring to combat shrinkage.

 

Do you mean leave the excess dough around the top edge and instead of trimming it before baking, fold it over the edge of the tin and trim after baking?

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Posted (edited)

Yup. 👍

 

By 'conventional' I mean one disc of pastry - larger than the ring - lifted into position and pressed into place. Then, rather than removing the excess by rolling over a rolling pin or using a knife, just leave it hanging over the rim. It will overbake and look awful, but once trimmed away with a serrated knife or microplane, nobody will be any the wiser, and you'll be left with a nice, clean edge. You can do this at the fully blind baked stage, or after the filling has been added and cooked.

 

Here's how it looks in a pro kitchen I saw on Instagram. Line the ring, leaving the excess...

 

10534869_876811945681076_1347603680_n.jpg.2a7ded8db93725ed73798aff1acd8bb5.jpg

 

...then blind bake the shell. After blind baking, you can trim away the excess or leave it in place and continue with the filling.

 

11377816_1590201274588457_782150198_n.jpg.7e276deac438b33d9f2a6ed36f71e5f8.jpg

 

When it's all done, trim for a neat finish...

 

11376159_852654258103505_577239407_n.jpg.0d54a20d1974a925193e2119f509450d.jpg

 

...before sending it out for service.

 

10597428_937261562957311_1749251808_n.jpg.d22ac9f0aba1829a8034dd90be3f8e08.jpg

 

Simple. 😋

 

(These skillz belong to Adam Degg, I believe.)

 


Edited by Pete Fred (log)
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3 hours ago, Pete Fred said:

I find clingfilm (plastic wrap) and rice work best for blind baking

 

Beware that most clingfilms (almost all) release toxic compounds when subjected to high temperatures. It's not a wise choice to put clingfilm on direct contact to some food that is going to be baked.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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I'm sure's there's some tiny risk.

 

Just like cancer causing chemicals could be leaching out of plastic bottles and contaminating my drinking water. Or radiation from the mobile phone in my jeans' pocket could be sterilizing my gonads. Or microscopic toner particles from my laser printer could be clogging up my lungs.

 

All of those have been shown to be real. However, they are not things I choose to worry about. If I concerned myself with every potential hazard that I encounter daily, however ridiculously small, I might as well construct a giant Biosafety Level 4 cabinet and never step foot outside of it, contenting myself that my miserable existence was to some greater end and serving a useful purpose. But I would be wrong.

 

If anybody is worried about toxic clingfilm poisoning, please feel free to ignore me and abstain from lining your tarts with it.

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1 hour ago, teonzo said:

 

Beware that most clingfilms (almost all) release toxic compounds when subjected to high temperatures. It's not a wise choice to put clingfilm on direct contact to some food that is going to be baked.

Teo

 

59 minutes ago, Pete Fred said:

I'm sure's there's some tiny risk.

 

Just like cancer causing chemicals could be leaching out of plastic bottles and contaminating my drinking water. Or radiation from the mobile phone in my jeans' pocket could be sterilizing my gonads. Or microscopic toner particles from my laser printer could be clogging up my lungs.

 

All of those have been shown to be real. However, they are not things I choose to worry about. If I concerned myself with every potential hazard that I encounter daily, however ridiculously small, I might as well construct a giant Biosafety Level 4 cabinet and never step foot outside of it, contenting myself that my miserable existence was to some greater end and serving a useful purpose. But I would be wrong.

 

If anybody is worried about toxic clingfilm poisoning, please feel free to ignore me and abstain from lining your tarts with it.

That's interesting. I've seen quite a number of "professional" chefs on FoodTV use plastic wrap (usually with foil on top of the plastic) and then put the food in the oven. I always thought the plastic wrap might melt in the heat of the oven but supposedly if you don't go over a certain temperature, it won't melt. 

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Plastic wrap formulation changed in the late1990s to remove BPA, that's why modern wrap doesn't cling as well as it used to.

 

Also, when I taught culinary school, we had one of those machines that made tart/pie shells from a ball of dough. It was great, you could make hundreds in an hour. We used to sell pumpkin pies as a fundraiser, thousands of them, and we could never have managed without it.

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All of the above techniques help....

Making 40-50 shells and then picking the perfect 2-3 ones on Instagram also helps.....

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2 hours ago, Avachocolate said:

Making 40-50 shells and then picking the perfect 2-3 ones on Instagram also helps.....

 

😂

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Some chefs use machines that both line and bake the tart shells. No doubt Cuisinart will be releasing a home version any day now. 😉

 

And here's the same fella going old-skool and using strips of pastry.

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You don't really need baking beads or trimming after baking - a lot just comes down to technique and resting.

 

Here's what I do:

 

- Roll out a good pastry (I think I posted my pâte sucrée recipe somewhere) to about 2mm

- Cut out a circle about 2cm larger than your tart ring

- Lay it over and press it in.  Make sure you get the pastry right into the corner, otherwise it will slip down when you bake it.

- Put it in the fridge for at least half an hour.

- Just before baking, trim the edges with a knife at an angle, to give it a bevel.

- Once baked, if there is any lifting underneath, just raise the pastry a little to let the steam escape and press it down to flatten it while it's still malleable.

- Wait for it to cool completely before touching it again.

 

I've never really seen the need for baking beads, or (thank God) cutting strips of pastry and assembling them.

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