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~ How to: Cut, Form & Bake Pie-Pastry Tartlet Shells ~

IMG_9602When it comes to desserts in general, but especially desserts like pies, tarts and cheesecakes, if I'm baking for a large group of people or for a special occasion, small, individual-sized ones, while a bit more labor-intensive up front, are well worth the "fussy" extra effort in the end.  Why? They're perfectly-portioned and require no slicing.  Serving them is 100% mess-free and stress-free.

This post refers to tartlets made w/classic, rolled pie pastry:

6a0120a8551282970b01538fb34ac1970bTo make pie-pastry tartlet shells, you need pie pastry, and, to make 14, 3"-round shells, you need the same amount you would use to make one, 9" double-crust pie.  Use your favorite recipe or click here to get my recipe for ~ Making Pâte Brisée: Basic Pie or Quiche Pastry ~.  That said, when I'm making tartlet shells to feed a crowd, I feel no guilt in using store-bought crusts to save time.  They bake up golden and crispy, and, no one ever complains.

6a0120a8551282970b0176172f90f5970cBlind-bake or bake blind, is the English term for baking a pastry shell before it is filled.  There are two instances when you need to prebake your pie pastry:  #1)  A pastry shell that, once the filling is added, does not return to the oven for further baking.  In this application the pie pastry must be fully-baked, nicely browned and completely cooled before you add the filling, and, #2)  A pastry shell that will get filled with a stirred custard, cream, mousse or fully-cooked/ready-to-eat filling and will return to the oven for further baking.  In this application, the degree to which you prebake your pie pastry (barely brown, lightly brown, golden brown) is determined by the length of time it will take the filled pie to finish baking, meaning:  the longer it will take for your pie filling to bake, the lighter in color your prebaked crust should be when it goes into the oven, so, always follow the recipe's instructions. To get all the specifics, read my post ~ How to: Blind-Bake a Pastry Shell (Baking Blind) ~.  

Roll 2 pie-pastries to a thickness of 1/16" & a diameter of 11 1/2":

IMG_9578Using a 3 3/4"-round pastry cutter, cut each pastry into 7 circles:

IMG_9585Place 1 pastry circle, as pictured, in each of 14, 3" tart tins:

IMG_9531Using a wooden tart tamper, form a flat bottom for each tart:

IMG_9535Using your fingertips, pat, press & form the sides for each tart:

IMG_9545Rolling a small pastry roller across the top of each tin,

IMG_9549cut off the excess dough to form a smooth, flat-topped tart shell:

IMG_9552Place formed tart shells, well-apart, on 1-2 baking pans:

IMG_9560Bake on center rack of 425° oven, until golden, 8-9 minutes:

IMG_9569Cool completely, in pans, prior to proceeding w/recipe as directed:

IMG_9600Tartlet shells.  Fully-baked & ready for some fully-cooked filling: 

IMG_9605How to:  Cut, Form & Bake Pie-Pastry Tartlet Shells:  Recipe yields instructions to make 14, 3" round, unbaked or fully-baked tartlet shells.

Special Equipment List:  pastry board; rolling pin; 3 3/4"-round pastry cutter; 14, 3" round tartlet tins w/fluted sides & removable bottoms, w/ or w/o removable bottoms, preferably nonstick; wooden tart tamper; small pastry roller; 1, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan or 2, 12 1/2" x 8 3/4" baking pans

IMG_3117 IMG_3156Cook's Note: While we're on the subject, let's not forget about  ~ Making Graham Cracker & Cookie Crumb Crusts ~.  Read it.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)


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