This sweet, crumbly French pastry is an ideal crust for classic French dessert tarts. Fruit tarts, in particular, are popular in Morocco, and often include a layer of creme patissiere, or pastry cream.
The recipe below makes enough dough for two 9" or 10" tart shells. If you don't need both crusts, bake one shell and freeze it, or fit the extra dough into a tart pan and freeze the unbaked dough.
Allow two or more hours chilling time for the dough. The dough may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, or frozen for up to two months.
- 3 cups (340 g) flour
- 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (220 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-4 tablespoons ice water (as needed)
- Blend the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with bits of butter no larger than peas. (Alternatively, you can process the mixture on pulse mode in a food processor.)
- Add the egg yolks, and continue blending with the pastry cutter (or on pulse mode in the processor) until the eggs are evenly incorporated and the mixture resembles a fine meal.
- Stir in the ice water with a fork, one tablespoons at a time, until the mixture is just moistened enough to gather and mold into a smooth ball. (Or, with the food processor running, add the water one tablespoon at a time just until the mixture forms a dough.)
- Divide the dough in half and flatten each portion into a smooth disc. Wrap with plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight if you prefer. The dough may also be frozen for up to two months.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge, and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. Lift and turn the dough as you work, keeping the work surface dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Fit the dough into a tart pan and press it firmly against the sides and bottom without stretching it. Trim off any excess dough and then cover and chill the dough in the pan for at least 30 minutes before filling and baking.
- To pre-bake the empty tart shell, prick the dough all over with a fork, cover lightly with foil and bake at 375° F (190° C) for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until barely colored for a partially baked shell, or golden brown for a fully baked shell.