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Prepared Tart Shells


CanadianBakin'
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JeanneCake PM'd and thought it would be good to start a new thread about prepared tart shells so the discussion didn't get lost in the mini thread. I have very little experience with tart shells aside from what's available at the grocery store so this will be great!

My first question was:

Wendy, what size are those mini cakes in your cooler and what size pastry shells do you use? It looks like you purchase pastry shells, I imagine with the amount you go through, making them would be insane. What brand do you use or what brand do you think is best?

Wendy's response:

Yes we purchase the mini tart shells. I 'think' there 1.25".....but I'll double check for you tomarrow. A few years back the quality of the purchased tart shells really differed between brands. It was hard to buy a decent tasting tart shell.

I like Hafner brand shells alot. But we've gotten other brands that are pretty good too. The thing I'd tell you to watch when purchasing them is the thickness. Some shells are too thick and dominate the fillings. On a side note: I haven't had any issues with mini tart shell breaking. But I have with purchased larger size tarts (around 3.5 to 4").

JeanneCake's thoughts:

Personally, I don't like Cephalor brand, but Pidy, Hafner and Swiss Chalet have all been ok to work with and come in various sizes/shapes.  You could even check out Albert Uster Imports - they have a selection of tiny chocolate pastry shells too.

JeanneCake I was wondering what you didn't like about the Cephalor? So far they are the only other brand I've been able to find in our area.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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what a useful thread - I use these a couple times a year, and would love to know if there's a better brand out there, or ones to avoid.

I discovered recently that the size variation is HUGE even when it's not particularly noticable to look at. I have a dried-apricot tart that I think we must normally make in 2.5" shells because when I unknowingly used some 2" shells a friend had picked up there was SO much extra filling! about 1/3 overage...

I still have to go look at my local Cash & Carry & see what size I normally get, and then write it in BIG letters at the top of the recipe... and likewise update my other recipes that use these.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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JeanneCake's thoughts:

Personally, I don't like Cephalor brand, but Pidy, Hafner and Swiss Chalet have all been ok to work with and come in various sizes/shapes.  You could even check out Albert Uster Imports - they have a selection of tiny chocolate pastry shells too.

JeanneCake I was wondering what you didn't like about the Cephalor? So far they are the only other brand I've been able to find in our area.

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CandianBakin - I don't know if you have a Real Canadian Wholesale Club out your way or not (part of the Superstore, Loblaws company). I use the ones they sell.. 2" I think. They are not the sweetened kind - I use them both for tarts and mini-quiche. I like 'em.

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CandianBakin - I don't know if you have a Real Canadian Wholesale Club out your way or not (part of the Superstore, Loblaws company).  I use the ones they sell.. 2" I think.  They are not the sweetened kind - I use them both for tarts and mini-quiche.  I like 'em.

We do... they sell 3" ones but they come in foil pans and look and taste like what everyone else has. To someone who knows what good pastry tastes like (which I know is not the majority) they don't pass muster. I used them one year at Christmas for a cranberry mincemeat. My mother-in-law said, well, the filling is nice. :) I'm looking for something a bit more upscale.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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To someone who knows what good pastry tastes like (which I know is not the majority) they don't pass muster.

They definately don't taste as good as ones I make myself - but if I need a few hundred, they are the best ones I can get my hands on (don't forget, I need them to be kosher, and I often need them to be non-dairy). Good luck in your search :smile:

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We use prepared tart shells. All different sizes... I think we get them from Albert Uster, but I'm seriously drawing a blank here thinking about what brand.

I'll check tomorrow and report back!

Stephen W.

Pastry Chef/Owner

The Sweet Life Bakery

Vineland, NJ

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  The other thing I noticed with the Swiss Chalet brand is that they provide the "tool"  - basically a sheet you place on top so you can sweep a mousse or other soft filling across entire thing and just lift it off and you're ready to go.  I haven't seen the other vendors provide anything like that.

Jeanne, I'm having trouble picturing this. Are there cutouts on the sheet for the shells?

Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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I buy the Roland chocolate mini cups - very tasty, good snap, and kosher and have done well by Croc'in a Belgian company. I buy the neutral coupelle and make mini quiche - no soggy bottoms, and mini butter tarts. The mini butter tarts were a novel item for Minnesotans . Check out http://www.croc-in.com . If I had enough demand I would buy the sweet version just for mini desserts.

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Jeanne, I'm having trouble picturing this.  Are there cutouts on the sheet for the shells?

That's exactly right! I haven't figured out how to upload pictures yet, and the Swiss Chalet site doesn't have a photo of it online; but it is in the catalog if you have one....

For what it's worth for anyone not familar with it: picture a sheet of fairly rigid white plastic, with squares, circles or oval shapes cut out in the exact alignment of the shells (the shells are contained in indentations in a clear plastic sheet). You put the tool over the shells, and then with a spatula, sweep your (soft) filling into the cavities. Faster than having to use a pastry bag, and the clean up is relatively easy.

I think you can also bake these still in their sheet - I know you can bake the Albert Uster butter shells - the clear plastic just sort of shrivels up and flattens out.

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have done well by Croc'in a Belgian company. 

Any idea who distributes them? I tried filling out the form on their website, but it doesn't seem to be working for me.

Thanks.

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Pam - I buy the Croc'ins from Classic Provisions in Minneapolis.

PH 763-544-2025. Sara Hill is the owner and a real whiz in the artisan cheese business. This is a strictly wholesale business but they are very chef friendly and will even do partial cases which is great for the smaller operator.

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