Published January 1, 2000.
Sweet tart pastry is both finicky and hard to roll out. Here is a recipe that is relatively foolproof, quick, and easier to handle.
Many American pie bakers have not discovered the virtues of the traditional pie dough's European cousin, pâte sucrée (literally, "sugar dough"). Its potential notwithstanding, sweet pastry dough can turn out thick, tough, and flavorless.
While a regular pie dough is tender and flaky, a sweet tart dough is tender and crisp. Fine-textured, buttery rich, and crumbly, it is often described as cookielike. A tart is elegant and understated, a perfect finish to a formal dinner. Whereas a slice of pie might request the company of a glass of cold milk, a tart would prefer espresso.
Use a full stick of butter for a dough that is easy to handle yet still has a delicate crumb. Instead of hard-to-find superfine sugar and pastry flour that many recipes call for, use confectioners’ sugar and all-purpose flour. Be sure to allow the dough to rest for at least one hour before rolling it out. When rolling, use minimal flour and handle as little as possible to maintain the integrity of the dough. Before baking, place the dough in the freezer briefly to “set.”list of recipes