Round Puff Pastry Tart Shell

Preparation info

  • Makes one

    8 inch

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Simple Art of Perfect Baking

By Flo Braker

Published 1984

  • About

When you cut a portion from a batch of puff pastry, you get a square or a rectangle. The technique in this recipe demonstrates how to transform a square piece of dough into a circle.

This is the pastry for Windsor Tart.

Ingredients

  • 4-x-4-x-½-inch thick (5 to 6 ounces) square of puff pastry

    Method

    Baking Preparations

    To prevent the dough from sticking to the metal during baking, grease the outside of the pan with solid shortening, using a paper towel. Then dust the sides of the pan with flour. Place an 8-inch circle of parchment paper on top of the pan (the parchment aids in releasing the pan after baking; otherwise, the pastry has a tendency to bake to the pan).

    Rolling the Dough

    At least 1 hour before baking, place the square of puff pastry on your rolling surface. Cut each corner from the square, about ½ inch in, leaving an octagonal piece of dough. Put these four corners on the center of the dough. Press them lightly into the center so that they stick to it. (See illustration.)

    Lightly flour the rolling surface under the puff pastry and roll a circle inch thick and about 10 inches in diameter (the pastry should not be thicker than inch). If the circle is larger than 10 inches, trim it with a pastry wheel.

    Forming the Tart Shell

    Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin to maintain its shape without stretching it, and transfer it to the inverted prepared pan. The pastry will drape over the pan and form pleats like a piece of material. Don’t be concerned that it does not hug the sides of the pan; it will correct itself during baking. Prick close together all along the sides and top of the pastry with the tines of a fork. (Pricking the dough thoroughly helps to conform its shape to the pan during baking.)

    Place the pan with its pastry in the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes. (This hastens the chilling period, firming the layers of fat; since it cannot freeze in that length of time, the dough also rests.)

    Baking the Tart Shell

    At least 20 minutes before baking, position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Remove the pan with the pastry from the freezer and place it on a baking sheet. Make a few slits along the sides and top with the tip of a small paring knife. (The pricking and the slits control the pastry’s expansion in the oven.) Place in the oven. As the pastry begins to bake, it will appear to melt down the sides, completely conforming to the pan with no creases. As the steam forms in the puff pastry, the sides and the center lift and expand. After 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 375 degrees.

    Check the pastry the first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to see if additional pricking is nec-essary. If the tart shell is puffing unevenly or wildly, prick it with a skewer. Prick firmly through the pastry, but be careful not to tear it since you will be filling it later.

    After the shell has baked about 20 minutes and appears set, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Gently lift the baked shell from the pan, turn it right side up and put it back on the baking sheet. Remove the parchment liner (the pastry will look raw on the bottom), and return the shell to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, checking as it bakes to see if pricking the bottom is necessary. Continue to bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the pastry is light golden and the bottom is done; the pastry bottom should sound and feel crisp when tested with a skewer. Remove to rack to cool before filling.

    Cutting corners from square piece of puff pastry. Placing triangular-shaped corners on top of the dough. Rolling corners and dough together to form a circle. Pricking dough well.

    Storing the Tart Shell

    If the shell is not being served the same day, wrap it in aluminum foil when it is completely cool and freeze it for up to 1 week. Remove it from freezer to a preheated 325-degree oven to freshen and recrisp it; leave in oven until warm to the touch. Fill it as you wish.