How to Make a No-Roll, Gluten-Free Tart Crust

[Photographs: Elizabeth Barbone]

As soon as spring arrives, I start thinking about tarts. Berry tarts, asparagus tarts—I love them all. While we've touched on how to make gluten-free tart dough before, it's time to revisit the technique so you're ready to make a tart whenever the mood hits you.

I've since modified the recipe slightly. The flours (a blend of white rice flour and potato and tapioca starch) remain the same. However, the preparation does not. Instead of creaming the butter until light and fluffy and then adding flour, like you'd do with sugar cookies, the butter gets cut into the flour with a food processor. (If you don't have a food processor, you can do this by hand with a pastry cutter.) Not only is this method a little faster, it improves the texture of the tart dough. Cutting the fat into the dry ingredients gives the dough a pleasant sandy—not gritty—texture that's very similar to wheat-based pâte brisée.

And for tarts that require a slightly sturdier texture, like savory tarts or wet berry tarts, I cut back on the butter so the tart wouldn't be so rich and delicate. I also added an egg to the dough. This strengthens the dough without making it tough. (If you are egg allergic, use the original recipe for an all-butter tart dough. An egg replacement doesn't work well in the recipe. )

One thing that hasn't changed? How you get the dough into the pan. Unlike wheat-based tart dough, which you can roll out into a large piece and transfer to a tart pan, gluten-free tart dough doesn't like to move. Rolling out the dough isn't a problem; it's moving the dough from the counter to the pan that proves problematic. Without the help of those stretchy bands of gluten, the dough loves to break apart during transfer.

To avoid this frustration, skip rolling out the dough and just press it into the pan. Although somewhat counterintuitive since you don't chill the dough before working with it, this technique works really well. This slideshow walks you through the simple process.

See all of the steps in the slideshow »

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