dcsimg

Pies & Tarts

Pies & Tarts

Pie and Tart Crusts

The key to a great pie or tart is the crust. Whether it is light, flaky, crisp, tender, crumbly, or somewhere in between, dough for crusts must be made by using the freshest ingredients and by following the proper technique for the type of crust you are making. Most doughs are a combination of fat (butter, shortening, lard), flour, and water. Depending on the recipe, other ingredients such as cream cheese, sugar, eggs, ground nuts, cream, citrus zest, and cocoa powder are added to make a specific type of dough.

Dough

Puff pastry, phyllo dough, graham cracker crusts, and sablee, which is what short bread is made from, are all commonly used for pies and tarts. The most popular types of pastry doughs, however, are flaky and sweet. Pie crust is an example of a flaky pastry, while sweet dough, which is tender and crisp, is often seen in tarts. Both of these doughs are made using a method known as the 3-2-1 method. In this, the ingredients are combined in a ratio by weight of three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part liquid. What distinguishes the two is what form the liquid comes in and how the butter is mixed into the dough.

Flaky Dough

With flaky dough, the butter pieces must be cold and large and surrounded by the flour, but not blended into it. This dough must be worked with quickly and kept as cold as possible. When cut properly, the butter in this dough is broken into flat, large pieces so that when the dough is baked, the solid butter pieces melt and the water in the butter evaporates. This puffs up the dough and leaves an air pocket where the piece of butter once was. It is these air pockets that are responsible for the crust being flaky. The flour and butter in this dough are bound with ice water and once it is formed, the dough must rest for at least an hour so that the butter has time to solidify again.

Sweet Dough

Sweet dough is a little bit more forgiving than flaky dough because the butter is incorporated into the flour and therefore does not need to remain cold. The liquid in sweet dough comes from a combination of sugar (which turns to liquid when it heats) and egg, which adds moisture, color, flavor, and structure. Little or no water is added to this dough. Instead, it begins with soft butter that is first creamed by itself, the sugar is then added, then the yolks, and finally a small amount of cream or water. The flour is typically added last and is only mixed briefly so that the dough doesn't become tough. Because it has a higher moisture content, sweet dough should rest longer than flaky dough so that the butter has time to harden again, the moisture can be absorbed by the flour, and the dough is easier to work with.

Making Crust

Depending on their ultimate use, doughs are rolled out and formed to make crusts and then either filled and baked or blind baked. Blind baking is a technique in which the crust is baked before it is filled. This technique is often used when wet ingredients are being put into a crust, such as fruit pies or tarts, so that the dough doesn't become soggy when the other ingredients are added.

Fillings

Pie and tart fillings range from creams, custards, nuts, fruit, chocolate, caramel, and even ice cream. Sometimes the crust and filling are not combined until each is cooked separately. Depending on the type, pies and tarts are either baked, refrigerated, or frozen and are often served with ice cream, whipped cream, and sweet or fruity sauces.

About the Author

After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.

Browse Baking and Pastry Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • A private post-secondary institution of higher education serving south-central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland since 1967.
            • Offers associate degrees in specialized business and specialized technology, as well as programs leading to professional certifications and diplomas.
            • Gives each student their own career services specialist who helps keep them focused on their goals.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104