Press-In Cookie Dough

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Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

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This makes a fine tart crust, especially if you want one that’s baked first, then filled with something that doesn’t require baking such as in the Parisian Fruit Tarts The dough is fast to prepare and to press into the pan, but leave yourself some time to chill the formed tart crust to minimize shrinkage when it bakes. The dough is very soft after mixing, so be sure to handle it gently and always with floured hands.


  • 10 tablespoons ( sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • One 10- or 11-inch (25- or 28-cm) tart pan with removable bottom, eight -inch (11¼-cm) fluted tart pans with removable bottoms, or twenty-four 2-inch (5-cm) tartlet pans, buttered


  1. Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Heat with the paddle on medium speed until whitened, about 5 minutes. Heating the butter and sugar aerates the mixture, and the air helps the dough bake to a light texture.
  2. Add the egg yolk and continue beating until it is absorbed and the mixture is smooth. Use a large rubber spatula to incorporate the flour.
  3. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface and shape the dough into a rough cylinder. See Pressing Sweet Dough into the Pan Instead of Rolling for further instruction.
  4. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or slide it into a plastic bag and seal securely. Refrigerate the formed crust for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  5. About 20 minutes before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Use a fork to pierce the chilled tart crust(s) at 1-inch (-cm). Intervals to keep it from puffing up and distorting while its baking.
  6. For the large or medium tart crusts, bake the tart shell until it is evenly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Check occasionally after it has been baking for about 5 minutes. If large bubbles appear on the bottom of the crust, slide out the pan on the oven rack and quickly pierce the bubbles with a fork to flatten them. The tartlets take 5 to 10 minutes less. Cool the tart crust(s) on a rack.


Use the crust on the same day it is baked. After it has cooled, cover loosely with plastic wrap until you are ready to fill it.

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