Rolling & Forming Tart and Piecrusts from Sweet Tart Dough

Appears in

The Modern Baker

The Modern Baker

By Nick Malgieri

Published 2008

A sweet dough differs from one that contains no sugar in one important way: The presence of the sugar makes the dough much less elastic, since sugar naturally inhibits the formation of a strong gluten. The resulting dough is easier to handle and also won’t toughen from excess handling the way a flaky or other sugar-free dough might. In fact, before beginning to roll a sweet dough, I always like to give it a gentle kneading to soften it slightly so it won’t break apart when I start rolling. Chapter 4 for photographic instruction of rolling dough, as well as instructions for forming tart and piecrusts. Regarding the quantity of dough to use, whether you roll it or press it into the pan.

Place the dough on a floured work surface, dust it lightly with flour, and knead for about 15 seconds, squeezing and folding it over on itself so that it becomes malleable but remains cool. Shape the dough into a disk.

Start rolling the dough by rolling away from you to the far end and back again without rolling over the ends. Use a firm but gentle pressure—pressing too hard might cut right through the dough. Turn the dough 45 degrees as before and roll again. Continue turning and rolling until the dough is the desired size. As you roll, don’t forget to add pinches of flour as needed. For a 1-inch (-cm) deep tart pan, the dough should be rolled about 3 inches (7 cm) larger than the diameter of the pan. For a standard 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan called for in all the pie recipes in this chapter, the dough should be 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter to allow enough to cover the rim of the pan and to fold some under for a fluted edge. For a double-crust pie, it can be 12 inches (30 cm), since the dough is trimmed even with the outer rim.

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