Or if you've been struggling with pastry that keeps melting and tearing as you roll it, you also need to read this post.
Would you like to make the dough and line a tart mould in 10 minutes, without having to rest or chill the dough? Find out how here.
Would you like homemade pastry that's so tender it crumbles and melts in your mouth? Rich and buttery without being oily? Yes? Then this post is for you.
The key to the mother of all shortcrust pastries is: an almost waterless dough. That doesn't just mean not adding water to the flour, because most pastry dough ingredients other than sugar and flour contain a substantial amount of water. Butter, for instance, is about 15% water. To remove the H2O, the butter is boiled so that the moisture evaporates. Gluten can't form without water and once there's no gluten, the pastry is melt-in-the-mouth tender even without egg yolks. And it can't shrink without gluten, so there's no need to rest it.
If you're now shrinking back in horror at the thought of melted, boiled butter, I totally understand your feeling. It's unlike other pastry recipes which always call for cold butter. And you might be thinking, "How the hell am I gonna roll it out?" Well, you don't. You put the dough in the tart mould and pat it into a thin layer. If you're pretty nifty, it takes maybe two minutes to line a small mould. If you take longer though, that's OK too since the butter is already melted. I tell ya, whoever came up with this method was an absolute genius! If, like me, you hate rolling out dough that keeps tearing, this no-roll recipe is a god sent!
Are you skeptical? You should be. Even if the dough is easy to work with, how good could it be? Doesn't good pastry need egg yolks and big flakes of cold butter? Well, try the recipe and see for yourself. The proof of the pudding is in the eating! I ate an entire pastry shell neat the first time I tried the recipe! Once in a blue moon, something that sounds too good to be true is true.
Now, please excuse me whilst I go stuff my face with more chocolate tarts.
(Recipe for 4 tarts 11 cm wide)
Tart shells (source: David Leibovitz)
90 g unsalted butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
⅛ tsp salt
150 g plain flour
200 g dairy cream, 35% milkfat
200 g dark chocolate, chop roughly
Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F).
To make pastry, put all ingredients except flour in a pot. Over medium heat, stir till colour darkens around edges, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Tip flour into pot. Stir till evenly mixed.
When cool enough to handle, divide dough between four 11 x 2 cm tart moulds – about 60 g each – reserving one pea-sized piece. Pat and press dough into thin, even layer.
Bake till golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Patch up cracks if any once tarts come out of oven, by flattening reserved dough between fingers, then pressing gently over cracks for a few seconds.
To make chocolate ganache, heat and stir cream till just boiling. Add cream to chocolate (not chocolate to cream). Stir till smooth. Pour into tart shells. Smooth top with a spatula. Transfer to fridge for ganache to set, at least 30 minutes.
To serve, let tarts come to room temperature. Unmould and tuck in.