Pâte sucrée, tart crust or sweet tart dough, is a classic French pastry dough commonly used for sweet tarts, such as fruit, custard, chocolate and lemon meringue tarts.
Round mini tart shells
While the traditional recipe contains butter, eggs, and wheat flour, it's possible to make a gluten-free and vegan version that is just as delicious and has the same texture.
Choosing a suitable gluten-free flour is crucial for this recipe. Only some flour blend that contains a binder, like xanthan gum, psyllium, or guar gum, will produce a good quality result.
Please read - Gluten-Free Flour Face-Off: Which Brand Reigns Supreme? for insight on choosing the best wheat-free flour for baking.
Let's dig into this extraordinary vegan and gluten free tart crust recipe, as well as tips on how to keep it from breaking and how to use it to make mini tart crust or shells.
Ingredients You'll Need
Mix the gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Add the cold, cubed vegan butter to the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the cold vegan butter into the flour. It should resemble a crumble or coarse sand.
In a small bowl, mix the psyllium powder and plant milk. Let it soak for about 3-5 minutes until it thickens and becomes gelatinous.
Add the psyllium mixture to the crumbled flour mixture in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tbsp of cold water or plant milk until the dough comes together. You may do it by hand if a stand mixer is not available.
Gather and form the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk. Wrap the dough with cling wrap and put it into the fridge for at least an hour.
At this point, start preheating the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Roll out the rested dough on a floured cold surface until it is about 1/8 inch (2-4 mm) thick.
Cut the dough into circles, slightly bigger than the mini tart molds. The same applies to the larger tart molds.
Press the circles of dough into the molds, making sure to press the dough up against the sides of the molds.
Use a fork to prick the bottoms of the tart shells.
Chill the tart shells in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
Line the tart shells with parchment paper or aluminum foil and fill them with pie weights or dried beans.
Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes.
Remove the pie weights or dried beans and parchment paper or aluminum foil from the tart shells.
Bake the tart shells for an additional 5-10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Let the tart shells cool completely at room temperature before filling them.
How to work with the dough
What causes gluten free tart crust to crack?
It may be too dry if the dough keeps breaking while rolling it out or pressing it into the tart molds. Instead, add more water to the dough, 1 tsp at a time, until it clumps together.
If you use gluten-free flour without a binder like xanthan gum, psyllium, or guar gum, your dough won't hold and breaks easily.
To fix it, roll out and Flatten the dough between two sheets of baking paper to prevent it from sticking to the work surface.
Blind baking mini tart shells using inverted silicon molds
How to store and freeze the dough and tart shells?
The dough can be kept in the fridge for 3-7 days and maximum two months in the freezer. Before freezing, wrap it tightly with cling wrap in an airtight container or freezer bag. Before use, allow the dough to thaw in the fridge overnight.
The baked tart shells can be stored in an airtight, dry container at room temperature for up to a week. If you want to freeze the tart shells, let the shells cool completely, then stack them in a single layer in a container or freezer bag. Make sure to separate each tart shell with a layer of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking together.
The tart shells can be frozen for up to 2 months. When ready to use the frozen tart shells, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator before filling and serving. If you need to crisp up the shells after thawing, place them in a preheated 355°F (180°C) oven for a few minutes until they become crisp again.
Blind baking large pie tart shell
Tips for blind baking gluten free and vegan tart crust
Blind baking refers to - partially or fully baking the tart shell before adding the filling. It ensures the crust is cooked correctly and prevents it from becoming soggy when filled with moist ingredients. Here are some tips for blind baking mini tart shells:
Bake cold. Before blind baking, it's important to chill the tart shells in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. It helps the dough retain its shape and prevents shrinkage during baking.
Use pie weights. To prevent the tart shells from puffing up or losing shape, line them with parchment paper, then fill them with weights or dried beans. The weights help to keep the dough in place while it bakes.
Prick the bottom. Before adding the pie weights, use a fork to prick the bottoms of the tart shells. It helps to release any trapped air and prevents the dough from bubbling up.
Bake in stages. Start by baking the tart shells with the pie weights for the initial period, usually around 15-18 minutes. Then, remove the weights, and continue baking for a few more minutes until the shells are golden brown. This two-stage baking process ensures that the crust is fully cooked and crisp.
Cool completely. Allow the blind-baked tart shells to cool completely before unmolding. It helps them firm up and maintain their shape.
Following these steps and tips, you can achieve perfectly baked mini or larger tart shells ready to be filled with your favorite gluten-free and vegan fillings.
Whether you fill them with fresh fruits, creamy custards, or decadent chocolate ganache, these tart shells work well. Plus, with the option to store and freeze both the dough and pre-baked shells, you can easily prepare ahead and enjoy homemade gluten-free and vegan tarts whenever you crave them.
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