Isn't this strawberry tart Gorgeous!!!!! My sister Ellen baked it yesterday, and she promised to tell me how she did it! I WILL share what she teaches me! Her secret is that she makes the BEST crusts ever. They always taste the way that you want them to, and that's half of the battle of creating a perfect tart or pie that tastes as wonderful as it looks (not always the case!)! She's also a painter, so everything that she makes has to be pretty!
Julia Child's Master Recipe
To Make a Butter Dough for Pastries and Pie Crusts:
Pâte Brisée Fine/Pate Sucree
For two 9-inch tart shells or a 14- by 4 1/2-inch rectangular crust
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached (scooped and leveled)
1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
(or, for dessert tarts, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise and diced
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water, plus droplets more, if needed
Special Equipment Suggested: A food processor with steel blade
Blending flour and butter. Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to use (mise en place, mise en place, mise en place!]. Put the flour, salt (or salt and sugar), and diced butter in the container of the processor and pulse (on-off half-second clicks) 5 or 6 times to break up the butter roughly. Add the shortening, turn on the machine, and immediately pour in the 1/2 cup of ice water, then pulse 2 or 3 times. Remove the cover and feel the dough – it should look like a bunch of small lumps, and will just hold together in a mass when you press a handful together [illustration in cookbook]. (It’s important not to overmix; it should not mass on the blade of the machine.) If to dry, pulse in droplets more water. From now on, work rapidly to keep the dough cold and manageable.
Final Blending. Turn the dough out onto your work surface; press it into a rough mass. For the final blending, rapidly and roughly, with the heel (not
the palm) of your hand, push egg-size clumps of dough out in front of you
in a 6-inch smear [illustrated in cookbook].
Resting and Chilling. Form the dough into a cake [illustrated] – it should
be fairly smooth and pliable. Wrap in plastic, slide it into a plastic bag, and refrigerate. Freshly made dough should chill 2 hours at least, allowing the flour particles to absorb the liquid, as well as to firm the butter and relax
After the dough has rested, roll it out until it is larger then the tart pan, drape it over the pan and press it into the pan gently. Take a fork and use it to prick the crust several times. If you have those cute little baking stones , place them on top of the crust as well to weigh it down. Bake the crust until golden brown in an approximately 350 degree oven. When the crust is ready, remove from the oven, remove the baking stones and let it cool.