Published January 1, 2007.
A crumbled tart is a disappointment; we found it pays to choose your pan carefully.
Imagine your disappointment if a French Onion and Bacon Tart crumbled as you attempted to liberate it from its pan. During our testing of seven tart pans, we had this unfortunate experience with onion as well as fruit tarts, so it pays to choose your tart pan carefully.
Tart pans can be divided into three basic categories based on materials: tinned steel (the classic choice), nonstick, and everything else—ranging from heavy ceramic to floppy silicone. What ceramic added in tabletop aesthetics, it quickly lost in practicality—the lack of a removable bottom forced us to chisel the delicate tart from the pan with a sharp knife. The equally flawed silicone pan required us to bend the pan to pop out our now-cracked pastry.
Because tart pastry is mostly butter, the nonstick surfaces on three of the remaining pans were not only redundant but also unfavorably slick. Without some tackiness, the dough slumped unevenly down the fluted edges of these pans.
Tarts baked in the two tinned steel pans browned evenly and released effortlessly. In this case, the classic design is still the best.