As I mentioned in my last post, I have been experimenting in the kitchen. One thing I find difficult to find online is a good tart shell recipe! I have scoured my favorite food blogs and found many shells that perform very differently from the dairy ones I am trying to replicate. I decided to use some of my homemade Cultured European style butter in this recipe and compare it to Earth Balance Buttery sticks in the same exact recipe, changing only the butter. What I found was actually surprising. The Earth Balance sticks worked exactly like the dairy crusts I make at work. My homemade butter created a very different shell, one that cooked but stayed completely white and had more of a shortbread feel and less of a buttery crumbly tart shell.
I may be posting this recipe prematurely because it isn’t perfect, you can’t just roll it out and plop it into the tart pan it is a bit more fragile than that. To combat this I have been rolling it out to about the width of the base of the tart pan and then pushing it up the sides to finish the shell. This allows the base to be flat and negates a mess of cracked dough all over your counter. Use this crust recipe in any recipe that calls for a tart shell, and impress your vegan friends with a base that tastes just as amazing as whatever you put in it!
One last note about this recipe: you will need a kitchen scale to make this. It is too difficult for some measurements not to be in ounces. I made it this way so when you make it at home your shells comes out the same as mine.
Perfect Tart Crust:
makes 3 shells (save 2 in the freezer for later, wrapped well)
1/2 cup sugar
14 oz Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (not to be confused with their tub margarine with a much higher water content than we want here)
1 lb 2 oz flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp water
1. First cube the Earth Balance and place it in the freezer.
2. Next combine the flax meal and water and let sit in a small bowl to gelatinize.
3. Place the sugar and Earth Balance in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and turn on low speed until combined but not whipped. You just want the mixture to be homogenized.
4. Then add your dry ingredients and mix on low speed until its a corse meal.
5. Add your flax meal at this stage and watch the magic happen as that little added moisture and the binding power of the flax brings the mixture together. Mix until combined but take care not to over mix. There should be no crumbles left. Place on the counter and divide into three equal pieces. Weigh your dough to make this exact. Roll into rough balls.
6. Then roll into cylinders.
7. Stand it up.
8. And flatten:
This is your tart crust. Place it in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling out, and place the other two in the freezer!
Roll the shell out to a managable base of the 9 inch tart shell and push it up the sides. The only picture I have of an unbaked shell is from a failed tart shell recipe I was working on, but it gives you an idea of what your shall should look like in the mold.
Bake at 350 until the shell begins to look like it has freckles. It is better to go a bit darker than have an under baked flour taste. But if you are going to be baking something in it after you par bake it, then bake a bit lighter than the picture below. I won’t be further baking this shell because it will be a chocolate ganache tart and will set in the fridge. Recipe to come! Good luck and enjoy!