I happen to make quiche or – if something sweet is wanted on the menu – tart, quite often, and so I thought that I dedicate today’s post to passing on a few tips on how to make a nice basic tart or quiche crust. The recipe follows that for a „pâte brisée„, one of the very basic pastries in French baking and – here’s a surprise 😉 – typically used for making quiches and tarts. It is similar to a shortcrust pastry but not quite as brittle and a bit denser.
It’s not overly complex to produce a nice crust if you just follow the recipe but it takes a few tricks and a bit of experience to get it really right, and I hope this post helps with that! 😀
The crust works for both sweet and savory bakes, the only difference is the addition of sugar to a sweet crust.
You can tweak the basic recipe easily, e.g. I often add fresh herbs or spices to savory crusts, depending on what I am making. E.g. some pictures show a crust I made with fresh rosemary which I used for a pumpkin quiche.
Ingredients (for a ø 29 cm tart/quiche pan):
- 200 grams of plain flour
- 100 grams of butter
- 1 tip of a knife of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- a few tablespoons of water
- butter for preparing the quiche pan
- Additional ingredient for a tart (sweet) crust: 30 grams of icing sugar
- Pass the flour through a fine mesh onto the clean kitchen counter or a baking mat. Cut the cold butter into small pieces into the flour. Rub the butter and the flour between your hands until you have a crumble.
- Add the salt, and, in case you are making a sweet crust (e.g. for a tart), the sugar. Form a depression in the center of your flour mix and add the egg yolk. Quickly start kneading the ingredients adding tablespoons of water one by one until the dough is smooth, but not sticky. I recommend to keep adding a bit (but not much) more water after the dough just keeps together or otherwise, it may turn out too brittle for rolling it out. Should the dough become too sticky, add a bit more flour.
- Form a ball, wrap it into cellophane and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven).
- Butter a quiche/tart pan. Unless you are using a non-stick pan, I recommend to also dust the bottom and sides with corn four.
- Roll out the dough into a round shape large enough to cover the tart/quiche pan and the sides. I prefer doing this on a baking mat as I do then typically not have to use flour to avoid sticking but you can, of course, also roll it out on the kitchen counter. I then recommend to lightly dust the dough (not the working surface) from all sides before rolling it out, and brush off any excess flour.
- When rolling out the dough, make sure to roll it out in all directions. Do not apply too much pressure and do also not roll over the edges to avoid that the edges get too thin.
- Many baking books or chef videos will typically suggest to then roll the rolled out dough around the rolling pin – no matter how many times I tried, I never mastered that trick. What I do instead is to carefully detach the rolled out dough from the working surface using a pastry spatula and then transfer to the pan by simply picking it up. Another trick would be to pick it up on the baking mat and then slowly removing the mat while lowering the dough into the pan.
- If you are having trouble with rolling out the dough, do not despair – you may as well go for the option of simply pressing the dough into the pan and up the sides. I go for this solution often enough, especially when I do not have much time. The crust may turn out slightly lighter/less dense and more even when you roll it out but the difference will typically be minute.
- Once you lowered the dough into the pan, cut off extra bits hanging over the side with a knife or simply run the rolling pin over the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough. Place pie weights on the top (if you do not have pie weights, you may also use dry foods such as dried chickpeas, dried peas or rice).
- If you do not use pie weights (see next step), prick the bottom of the crust with a fork all over.
- Put the crust into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes. Take out and remove the weights and parchment paper. The crust is now ready to be filled with any sweet or savory filling. The cooking process will then need be finalized in a second step after adding the filling in accordance with the recipe of the quiche or tart you are making.