Sweet tart crust, also known as pâté sucrée, short crust pastry, sweet pastry dough, is a sweet cookie-style dough used as a tart base for a delicate crunch. This crust can be filled with all types of creams, curds, or ganaches.
Pâté Sucrée Tart
Sweet tart dough is made by creaming together butter and sugar, then an egg is added, followed by a bit of salt and the flour. This method follows the same creaming method used in cookies, which is why the texture very closely resembles a crisp shortbread cookie. It is soft, easy to work with, and very forgiving! For all of my tarts, I use my trusty 9" Wilton Tart Pan with Removable Bottom. I couldn't live without it (because tarts are life!).
Pâté Sucrée Cookies
Given that this is so similar to a cookie dough, any leftover scraps from creating the tart crust can be smooshed back together, rolled out again, and cut into cookies! Simply bake them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325℉ for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. The cookies can be enjoyed as is, or can be iced and decorated.
Sweet Tart Crust Recipe
Begin by creaming together the room temperature butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) for about a minute on medium speed. Next, add in the room temperature egg, salt and mix to break up and incorporate the egg. At this point, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the flour and mix on low to combine.
The dough will be very soft and pliable. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap completely to cover and seal, then press the dough into a round, 1" thick disk. Allow the dough to sit in the fridge for 2 hours to chill and firm up.
After the chill time is up, remove the dough from the fridge and let the chill come off for about 15 minutes. This will help to roll out the dough more evenly and with fewer cracks. Lightly flour a clean work surface and rolling pin, and begin rolling out the dough, turning it 90 degrees every few rolls. This will help to roll it into a circle. If the dough sticks to the counter or rolling pin at any point, sprinkle on a bit more flour.
Continue rolling out the dough until it's about 2 inches wider than the tart pan (simply place the tart pan on top of the dough to check) and is between ⅛"-¼" thick. If the edges have started to crack, that's ok. The dough is incredibly forgiving and is able to be patched once in the pan.
Transferring the dough to the tart pan
Once the dough is rolled out to the appropriate thickness, roll it onto your rolling pin, then transfer it to the tart pan and unroll it overtop. Carefully lift the dough around the edges to allow it to sink into the pan. Then, use your fingers to push the dough into the corners and bottom of the pan.
Next, fold the excess dough inwards to help reinforce the sides. Once it's all folded in, use your fingers to push the dough into the corners and up the sides. Gently fold the excess over the outsides of the pan and use the rolling pin to roll over the top to remove the excess dough. These are the scraps that can be worked back into a disc and re-rolled for cookies.
Push the dough into the sides again to clean it up and make it as smooth as possible. If excess has pushed itself to the top again, use the rolling pin or a paring knife to trim one more time. Finally, use one finger on the inside and another finger on the top to make a smooth, flat tart edge. If there are any weak spots in the bottom of the dough, simply use a small piece of scrap to patch it.
Blind baking the sweet tart crust
Once the tart is prepared, place it into the freezer for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 325℉. Dock the shell all over with the tines of a fork, including the corners.
Crumble a piece of parchment paper, then unwrap it and spread it out inside the tart shell. Add pie weights (dried rice or beans also works, just don't use them to eat afterwards) - enough so the shell is completely filled and push the weights into the corners and sides.
Fold the excess parchment inwards over the weights. I like to do this so the parchment doesn't bake into the edges and it keeps clean, nice sides.
Bake the tart for 10 minutes, then remove it from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and pie weights. The pie will still look wet in the center. Continue baking the tart for 10-15 more minutes until it is no longer moist in center and the edges take on a lightly golden color. Check on it a few times - if the dough is puffing up on the bottom, use a fork or paring knife to add a few more pokes to release the steam. Transfer the tart to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to remove a tart from the tart pan
Once the tart is filled, set and ready to be served, turn a short drinking glass upside down and place the tart on top of it. The tart ring should fall naturally, but carefully pull it downwards if it's sticking anywhere. Use the tip of a sharp knife to loosen any very tough spots.
Transfer the tart to a serving plate, then use a thin knife to get in between the tart shell and bottom of the pan. If necessary, run the knife around the edge to loosen it and pull the pan bottom out from under the tart crust.
Once fully blind baked, this shell holds up great for many fillings. Curds, ganaches and whipped creams are all great options to fill the tart. You can also brush egg whites over the crust after removing the pie weights to really seal the crust if you're planning to use a very wet filling like a curd.
No! There is enough butter in the dough to prevent any sticking and the shell will pop out incredibly easily with the removable tart bottom. This is especially true if you have a non-stick tart pan.
If you don't have a tart pan, you can use a pie dish. I recommend an aluminum dish to conduct the best heat, but use what you have. Note the sides will not be as clean as in a tart pan, and may slouch a bit during the baking process.
Once the tart shell is fully blind baked, it can be stored at room temperature for 5 days. It can be lightly covered with foil, but do not seal it in a ziplock bag or anything that prevents air from circulating or else it will turn soft.
Sweet Tart Crust (Pâté Sucrée)
- 8" or 9" tart pan with removable bottom
- Rolling Pin
- Paring knife
- Pie weights, or dried rice/beans
- Parchment paper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (85g)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar 67g
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1¼ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 165g
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugar and salt until smooth. Add in the egg and mix until incorporated, then scrape down the sides. Add the flour and mix on low until just incorporated.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten into a 1 inch thick disc. Place in the fridge for about two hours.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and plastic wrap and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough until it’s ⅛-¼" thick. This dough is very forgiving, so if it cracks, you can patch it later. Roll the dough so it’s about 2 inches wider than the tart pan.
- Transfer the dough to the pan and press it into the bottom, corners, and sides of the tart pan. Roll the rolling pin over the top of the pan to remove the excess dough, then use any of the scraps to patch holes or weak spots.
- Transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes, and preheat the oven to 325℉. Remove the dough from the freezer and dock the bottom of the tart with a fork multiple times. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill completely with pie weights (or dried beans/rice).
- Bake for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and parchment, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. When done, the middle of the tart should not look moist or raw. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.