For those familiar with baking, you all know short-based pastry…for those not, that’s the pastry used in most sweet and savoury tarts.
And for me besides boring, if made badly, can be a thick floury base that kills any dish, to what could be an amazing tart.
I have been using a replacement, that is a “pine-nut crust” base (taken from Thomas Keller, one of the top chefs in the world), which is suitable for both sweet & savoury, the only drawback is the expense of buying pine-nuts. The good news is that the recipe makes either 3 big tart bases or 24 mini-tarts. Also its can be easily frozen at least over a month, and it doesn’t require pastry skills to make or to use. In fact its simpler than short-base pastry! I would dare to say idiot-baking proof.
- 2 cups pine-nuts
- 1/3 cup castor sugar (you can use sugar)
- 3 cups cake flour (approximately 410g)
- 240g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence, but if you are going to the effort of buying pine-nuts, use extract! The real deal makes a difference in taste vs the synthetic)
HOW TO MAKE
- Put the pine-nuts in a food processor (or the like) and pulse a few times (gets broken up/crumbly). Add the sugar and flour and continue to pulse until nuts are finely ground (if you prefer it chunkier, then fine!). Transfer to a large bowl.
- Now either you can do this by hand or put in in your kitchen mixer that has a dough paddle. Basically add the butter (cut into small blocks), the egg, and vanilla extract to the above mixture and mix well until it binds.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, wrap individually in plastic wrap and either freeze for when you require it, or refrigerate for at least 15minutes before using.
- If using, preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. Grease (& lightly flour via sieve) a tart pan (or mini-tart pans) with a removable bottom and refrigerate for a couple of minutes.
- Use your fingertips to press the chilled pine-nut dough over the bottom and up the sides of the pan (as even as possible). Trim off any excess.
- Bake the crust for 20-30minutes, OR until golden brow [This is called “baking blind”]
- Remove from the crust from the oven and let it cool. Thereafter, use whatever filling you wish to!|
Note: don’t worry if there are cracks in the crust, they will not affect the finished tart!
Tip: Now if you are like me, I prefer to actually pre-prepare all my tarts in the actually tart containers with the dough, wrap in plastic and freeze. When I require a tart, I then defrost and then simply bake it blind, and then do the filling.