Basic Tart dough

by Chef Daniel Morduchowicz

A very basic dough that has brought me much success in my tart making endeavors

- Chef Daniel Morduchowicz


French, American, Italian
2 8 inch tart shells
Calories Per Serving
Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Inactive time
40 minutes
Total Time


  • 150 grams all purpose flour
  • 150 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup very chilled water
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Cut up butter into small cubes and place in the same bowl.
  • Freeze the processor bowl with all the ingredients in it for at least 15 minutes. The goal is to make everything really cold to prevent the butter from melting and begin leaching out water. This would have two deleterious effects: the flour, in contact with water, will begin forming glluten. But more importantly, the butter will disperse too much which would make the dough chewy. If the butter is dispersed through the dough in the form of little balls, it will burst when placed in the oven creating a lot of layered flakiness.
  • When everything is really cold take out of the freezer and process in pulses. The goal is to make the butter into very small balls mixed in with the flour.
  • While pulsing the food processor pour in the very cold water gradually until a ball begins to form
  • Dump the whole dough directly into a large sheet of plastic wrap. Bring together the corners of the wrap and gather the dough into a ball.
  • Press with your hands trying to compress the dough so it becomes uniform. Press down into a circle.
  • If the dough has gotten warm place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Proceed to roll it out with a rolling pin on a flat smooth surface. Make sure your surface is floured but not excessively. You want to be able to roll the dough smoothly without sticking.
  • Roll into a circle the size of your mold plus at least 1 inch.
  • Place in your mold and press down on the bottom making sure to press into the sides as well. The goal here is for your dough to hug the mold as closely as possible.
  • Prick the dough many times with a fork.
  • Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • Take it out of the freezer, and cover with a round piece of parchment paper and gently press down into the dough.
  • Cover with pie weights, or beans, or rice.
  • Bake like this in a 250F oven until the shape is set, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, remove the pie weights and the parchment paper and place back in the oven for 20 more minutes.
  • Set aside until ready to fill.
  • Follow the rest of the instructions in your tart recipe.


This is a versatile tart crust that can be used in sweet or savory applications, from an apple tart to a quiche lorraine. The leftovers can be used to make tartlet shells. It is important to keep everything cold until ready to bake. This way you prevent water in the butter from leaching out and developing gluten – your enemy if you are after a flaky, not chewy dough.

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