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Perfect sweet pastry tartlets


honeykate
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Am being a bit boot-camp lately with my (lack of) pastry skills and have managed to hone a few techniques using books, the net and lots of practice. However, I cannot seem to achieve that perfect straight edge on my small sweet tartlet cases no matter how much resting, weighting and blindbaking I do. :sad: I am begging for any tips and advice from eGulleteers!

The secret of cooking is the release of fragrance and the art of imparting it. - Patience Gray

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I generally use a Roux brothers sweet short pastry recipe which is beautiful.

I always rest my pastry well before baking so i don't think the butter would be too soft but i will keep an eye on that, thankyou Ling.

Some books advise leaving an overhang of pastry over the rim of tartlet cases and carefully trimming it up after blindbaking - when I do this though, the pastry crumbles not giving me the perfect even neat edge i desire. :hmmm:

The secret of cooking is the release of fragrance and the art of imparting it. - Patience Gray

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The pastry is always rested and chilled before baking. I think I may be blindbaking at too low a temperature so I will experiment with that today. :rolleyes:

The secret of cooking is the release of fragrance and the art of imparting it. - Patience Gray

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too much kneading develops the gluten, and lets the dough shrink too much.

i use the magimix to blend butter and flour. our recipe uses 1/3 starch and instead of whole eggs just yolks and water, makes a perfeclty short dough without shrinkage (and straight lines) ;-)

cheers

t.

toertchen toertchen

patissier chocolatier cafe

cologne, germany

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When I make tart dough, and before I refrigerate it, I usually flatten it very thin inside a large ziploc bag by pressing down on it using a rigid sheet pan. That way the dough needs very little rolling when you are ready to bake, and thaws much quicker if you've frozen the dough. I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached. Then I use a thin, sharp knife to trim the overhanging dough. Then I again use my fingers to make sure the dough is even thickness around the edges. Then I refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Then I blind-bake at 350F.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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How small is small? In many cases the type of pastry that you use (and thus the baking) will be affected by how much surface area there is... petit four size, 3", 4" mini tart size? You might try freezing the filled pans and baking them frozen.

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Thank you everyone for all of the very helpful advice! :smile: I am going to bake what I am sure will be beautiful tartlets this weekend. I think I have been blindbaking at too low a temperature and I will definately roll out my pastry before chilling instead of leaving it in a ball of dough. Will post the results!!

The secret of cooking is the release of fragrance and the art of imparting it. - Patience Gray

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I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

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I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter.

Thanks, Patrick. The reason for my inquiry is that I have not been able to easily find a round cutter large enough to cut out a circle of dough that will be the right size to fit into a 4 inch tartlette pan.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter.

:cool: I just bought a set of these. I think I'll use them to make something for Thanksgiving. I'll do part of this in advance and freeze. Until now I'v only frozen dough in 1" thick or less discs, then rolled and shaped. I mostly make tarts, not tartlets. But for the holiday it would help to take it a step farther. Which do you think would be best:

roll and cut dough into circles, freeze flat

roll, cut, shape into tarts, freeze

roll, cut shape, blind bake (fully or partially per use), freeze empty

Of course all of these will take careful storage, but the thought of getting this out of the way a week or two ahead is sooo tempting.

Also, mostly I bake with pate brisee, savory or sweet as I usually prefer the more neutral, sugar free crust. Is there a difference when you freeze a short crust or nut crust than when you freeze pate brisee?

One last question: will I be happier shaping the blind baked shells over the outside/back of muffin tins or inside. Logic suggests that outside won't work so well for tartlets that will not be fully prebaked. Right? wrong?

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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I use a circle cutter to cut a circle a little bit bigger than needed. I also leave the dough a little thicker than needed. So I cut the circle, press it into the pan, then press the dough with fingers till the desired thickness is reached.

Patrick, I like this technique. What do you use to cut the circle of dough which has the correct diameter?

I use a set of circular cutters, like this. You can also improvise and cut your dough out with things like lids, drinking glasses, large prescriptions bottles. Plastic caps from, say, pan coating spray works pretty well as a cutter.

:cool: I just bought a set of these. I think I'll use them to make something for Thanksgiving. I'll do part of this in advance and freeze. Until now I'v only frozen dough in 1" thick or less discs, then rolled and shaped. I mostly make tarts, not tartlets. But for the holiday it would help to take it a step farther. Which do you think would be best:

roll and cut dough into circles, freeze flat

roll, cut, shape into tarts, freeze

roll, cut shape, blind bake (fully or partially per use), freeze empty

I would probably use something like the last option, but I would let the shells rest in the freezer for a little while between shaping and baking.

One last question: will I be happier shaping the blind baked shells over the outside/back of muffin tins or inside. Logic suggests that outside won't work so well for tartlets that will not be fully prebaked. Right? wrong?

I tried a couple of times to bake tart shells draped across the outside of a mold and it never worked very well. The dough had a tendency to slide down the mold once it got hot. So, I always shape and bake on the inside of the mold.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Thanks Patrick. You're a treasure trove of information. And wonderful pictures of wonderful confections. I look forward to them.

As for refrigeration. My pate brisee took a quantum leap when I made cold my friend.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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