An easy recipe for pre-made mini tart shells or large pie shells, which can be filled with pretty much any sweet filling you like.
MINI PIE SHELLS
This tart shell recipe is a must-have recipe for anyone who likes baking and entertaining. Pre-made tart shells, which can be made in advance, a perfect base for any kind of sweet filling.
Not to mention, that you will impress just about anyone when serving anything in a mini pastry case! Any kind of mini tart or pie looks beautiful!
PRE-MADE TART SHELLS
This is another one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s wonderful recipes. I could cook my way through all his books and not get tired of it. You can find this recipe in his book “Ottolenghi – The Cookbook”.
The recipe is perfect, I had my doubts the first time I made them, I thought I would never manage to get the mini tart shells out of the muffin forms in one piece, but I did. They come out perfectly every time, they just slide out.
The recipe makes 24 mini pie shells or 2 regular-sized pie or tart shells.
TIPS FOR MAKING MINI PIE SHELLS
- The most important tip I can give you for any baking recipe is to use a kitchen scale, cup measuring is very unprecise and, in some circumstances, it can lead to disasters.
- A kitchen scale is really cheap and it will last for years and years. You probably won’t even have to change the batteries more than once every year or two, depending on how often you use the scale.
- For perfectly flaky and buttery pie crust, make sure that the butter is very cold when you add it to the rest of the ingredients, you can even chop it in small pieces, place the pieces on a plate and the plate in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Process the butter with the rest of the ingredients shortly, the butter should not be completely lost in the pastry, small pieces of it ensure that the pastry is flaky.
- When you turn the pastry onto the working surface make sure you knead it very shortly, just enough to bring the dough together and to form the pastry discs.
- Your hands should be cold when handling the pastry and you should only use the fingertips and not the palms of your hands.
- To make sure that the hands are cold, hold them under cold water and dry them.
- Chill the pastry for at least 30 minutes.
- If you don’t like or don’t manage to roll the dough properly, you can press the pastry balls with cold hands to form a circle.
- Place the circle into one muffin mold and press to cover the bottom and walls of the mold.
HOW TO MAKE A REGULAR-SIZED PIE SHELL?
- The recipe makes 24 mini pie shells baked in muffin tins or 2 regular pie or tart shells, baked in pie/tart tins with a diameter from 20 cm/8 inches up to 26 cm/ 10 inches.
- I prefer to use pie shells with a removable bottom, they make life easier.
- To make the regular-sized pie shells, divide the shortcrust pastry in two, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and the walls of the pie tin you are using, so about 2 cm/ 0.8 inches larger than the bottom of the tin.
- Carefully, place into the tin and trim the edges with a sharp knife.
Alternative to rolling:
- Form a thick roll of dough.
- Cut it lengthways into very thin slices, enough of them to cover the tin and its walls, place the slices in the tin, push them with the cold fingertips and press them to close the cuts.
- Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
CAN YOU MAKE THE PASTRY IN ADVANCE?
- Definitely. You can make the pastry in advance and refrigerate it for up to one week or freeze it for up to one month.
- I had it frozen for longer as well, it was still great.
HOW TO BLIND BAKE TART SHELLS?
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the greased muffin molds or large pie tin with removable bottom with paper muffin cases or with parchment paper.
- Fill with dry beans or rice and bake blind for about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the beans/rice and the paper. The cases should be golden-brown.
- If they are not so yet, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes without beans and paper.
- Let the tart shells cool slightly but remove from the tin while they are still warm, they will just slide out of the form.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely, then fill.
- If the filling has to be cooked as well, remove the paper and the beans, fill the shells and continue cooking according to the recipe’s instructions.
MORE PIES AND TARTS?
RHUBARB MERINGUE PIE – Rhubarb meringue pie or German rhubarb tart, this is the best rhubarb meringue pie ever!!!
BEST LEMON MERINGUE PIE – This lemon meringue pie is beyond amazing!
BERRY CRUMBLE PIE WITH BLACKBERRIES – The easiest berry crumble pie recipe you could make. A blackberry pie with crumb topping, everybody just loves this pie!
SWISS SWEET CHERRY PIE – A typical Swiss Wähe or sweet cherry pie, a thin crust covered with fresh cherries, the perfect pie for the short sweet cherry season.
BANANA CARAMEL CREAM PIE – My favorite banana caramel cream pie, a no-bake pie with bananas, easy candied walnuts and a delicious cream cheese, yogurt and heavy cream filling.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
How to Make Tart Shells
- Makes 24 cases or 2 pie shells
- 330 g/ 11.6 oz/ 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 cup icing sugar
- grated zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- 180 g/ 6.3 oz/ ¾ cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- extra butter for brushing the tins
- extra flour for dusting
- paper muffin cases or parchment paper
- dry beans or rice for blind baking
- The recipe makes 24 mini pie shells or 2 large pie shells.
- Dough: Place the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest, salt, and butter in the food processor and process until you get a coarse mixture that resembles breadcrumbs; you should still have some small butter pieces visible. Add the yolk and the water and mix shortly until the dough comes together.
- Rest: Turn the pastry onto the working surface and knead lightly for just a few seconds, to form a smooth disc. Divide the pastry into four portions, wrap each piece in plastic foil and refrigerate until needed. It will keep for a week in the fridge and a month in the freezer.
- Tin: Brush the muffin tin with melted butter, place the tin in the fridge and leave to set for about 30 minutes.
- Roll: Dust the working surface with very little flour. Take one portion of the wrapped pastry out of the fridge and divide it into 6 parts. Form 6 small balls and roll each one into a circle, about 2-3 mm thick and large enough to cover the bottom and the walls of the muffin tin. Repeat with another portion of pastry.
- You can bake two batches of the pastry in one 12-mold muffin tin. Then, either bake in two batches, two muffin tins or refrigerate or freeze the remaining pastry for another occasion.
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blind bake: Line each muffin mold with a paper muffin case, fill with dry beans or rice, and bake blind for about 25 minutes. Remove the beans/rice and the paper. The cases should be golden-brown. If they are not so yet, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes without beans and paper.
- Cool: Let the mini muffin shells cool slightly but remove them from the muffin tin while still warm; they will slide out of the form. Place on a wire rack to cool completely, then fill.
Large pastry cases:
- The pastry is enough for 2 pie shells of about 24-26 cm/ 9-10 inches.
- Grease a loose-based cake tin (24-26 cm/ 9-10 inches) with melted butter and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into a circle large enough to cover the bottom and the tin walls, press it lightly in the tin, and trim the edges.
- Alternative to rolling the pastry: Form a thick roll of dough (which should be cold, just out of the fridge), cut it lengthways into thin slices, enough of them to cover the tin and its edges, place the pieces in the tin, push them with the fingers and press them to close the cuts. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
Bake the large pie shells:
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Blind bake: Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit the tin, place it on top of the pie and fill with dry beans or rice. Bake blind for about 20 -30 minutes until golden brown. Remove the beans and the paper and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes if the shell doesn't have the right color yet. Let cool and fill.
- If the filling has to be cooked as well, remove the paper and beans, fill the shells and continue cooking according to the recipe's instructions.