Serious Eats: Recipes

Gluten-Free Tuesday: Sweet Tart Dough

[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone]

I think of tarts the same way I think of sandwiches: you can fill them with almost anything and they taste great. And just as a good sandwich requires good bread, a tart needs a good crust.

This recipe makes a simple sweet* tart crust. How simple? Just cream together the butter (or shortening if you are dairy-free) and sugar and then add the dry ingredients. As soon as the dough comes together, press it into a tart pan. No rolling required! Since gluten-free dough lacks the structure gluten provides, it's delicate. If you press the dough into the pan, you don't have to deal with transferring the tender dough from the counter to the pan. After pressing the dough into the pan, chill it. Not chilling the dough can cause it to shrink during baking. So don't skip this easy step.

Full or Partial Bake? The tart filling determines the best way to bake the crust. If the filling does not require baking (like the chocolate ganache recipe I've included below) fully bake the crust, allow it to cool and then pour the filling into the fully baked crust. If your filing requires baking, such as a cheesecake-style filling, partially bake the crust until it is just barely begins to brown, fill it, and finish baking.

Whether you are fully or partially baking your crust, I don't recommend using pie weights to keep the dough from rising. Pie weights, by design, are heavy and do almost too good of a job keeping gluten-free crust from puffing. They tend to leave you with a dense crust instead of a delicate one. Before baking, simply pierce the crust all over with a fork. This prevents the crust from puffing up while not affecting its texture. If your crust does puff up slightly, gently press it down, using the back of a spoon, as soon as you remove the pan from the oven.

Filling Suggestions. I shared my recipe for a quick chocolate ganache filling below. In addition, here are some other filling suggestions:

Ingredient Note. In addition to being gluten-free, this recipe is also egg-free, soy-free, corn-free, and nut-free. If you're dairy-free, replace the butter in the recipe with an equal amount of solid non-dairy substitute, like shortening or coconut oil.

*If you love savory tarts, don't fret! I'll share a savory tart dough in an upcoming column.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. With her solid professional baking background, Elizabeth is known for creating gluten-free recipes that taste just like their wheat counterparts. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

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