French Tart Dough Recipe

tart dough

I was in the middle of a lovely spring lunch at Chez Prune up by the Canal St. Martin the other day with Paule Caillat, a woman who teaches cooking classes here in Paris.

We talked about many things, but of course, the conversation quickly turned to the most important subject of them all: baking. And soon she began to tell me about this tart dough recipe that she’s been making for years.

I was expecting her to say, “You begin by taking some cold butter and work it into the flour.

But she started by saying, “You take butter. And you take water. You put them in a bowl. Then you put it in the oven for 20 minutes and let everything boil until…” which, of course, stopped me mid-swallow of my Côte du Rhone. I almost started choking.

“Surely, you jest!” I wanted to cry out in disbelief.

Except I couldn’t, because I don’t know how to say that in French.


So I just sat there with my mouth agape, which is a pretty uncharacteristic position for me to find myself in.

paule caillat flour added

Then she reiterated, that she heated the butter in the oven and dumped in some flour then stirred it until it was smooth. Seriously gang, you coulda knocked me over with un plume. It was as if someone told me that Anne Coulter actually wasn’t really out of her friggin’ gourd, or that I packed up and split to a foreign country with no plans for my future. It was all just crazy-talk.

browned-butter dough ball

So Paule invited me to her fabulous, spanking-new kitchen (je suis jaloux!), where she teaches cooking classes at Promenades Gourmandes, to make the dough. After I caught my breath at her kitchen, which was roughly the size of my apartment, she lit the oven and soon the butter was bubbling merrily away in the oven. She made me come over and look, showing me how it was darkening just around the edges, “comme le beurre noisette”—like browned butter.

tart dough dough pressing in mold

A few moments later, she carefully pulled it out then she dumped in an unspecified amount of flour with an audible sizzle, and began stirring briskly.

When I asked how much flour she’d added, she said, “Oh…you know, enough to make it right.”

making tart dough farine bio

Immediately my breathing became short and I had to brace myself against the wall (although a slug of Côte du Rhone brought me back): I knew that you’d flip out if I didn’t get an exact amount of flour out of her. Yet after multiple messages back and forth with her from my home kitchen, I came up with the right quantity. I know from experience pinning down the French isn’t always easy, but the rewards are invariably worth it.

(Except I still can’t figure out why France Telecom said if I get an iPhone now, it’s going to cost me €509. But if I wait until next January, I can have it at the currently-advertised price of €89.)

butter wrapper pressing dough

If you’ve been afraid to make tart dough, give this one a try. It couldn’t be easier to make, or more interesting, and yielded a wonderfully flaky, buttery dough. And if anyone asks for the recipe, do make sure they’re not mid-gulp.

baked tart dough

French Pastry Dough

One 9 (23 cm) tart shell

Adapted from a recipe by Paule Caillat of Promenades Gourmandes

In France, I used type 65 organic flour, which is similar to American all-purpose flour. Paule says that her students report back, saying that the dough works beautifully with American butter, too. Small cracks in the dough are normal so I wouldn’t use this for a thin, custardy filling, although it works well filled with chocolate ganache and I would imagine it would be lovely filled with fresh berries resting on a base of pastry cream.

Do be careful with the hot bowl of butter. Not only will the butter spatter a bit when you add the flour, but it’s uncommon to have a very hot bowl on the counter and easy to simply give in the urge to grab it with your bare hands.

  • 90 g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g (5oz, or 1 slightly-rounded cup) flour

Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).

1. In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.

2. Place the bowl in the oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges.

3. When done, remove the bowl from oven (and be careful, since the bowl will be hot and the mixture might sputter a bit), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly, until it comes together and forms a ball which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.

5. Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your and, and use your fingers to press it up the sides of the tart mold. Reserve a small piece of dough, about the size of a raspberry, for patching any cracks.

(Paule takes a fork and reinforces the dough to the sides, which I didn’t find necessary.)

6. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork about ten times, then bake the tart shell in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.

7. Remove from the oven and if there are any sizable cracks, use the bits of reserved dough to fill in and patch them.

I find it best to pinch off a small amount of the reserved dough, roll it gently between your fingers to soften it, then wedge it into the cracks, smoothing it gently with your pinky.

8. Let the shell cool before filling.

tarte au chocolat

Related Links:

Paris Cooking Classes and Wine Tastings

Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking and Shopping

Chez Panisse Almond Tart (Recipe)

Easy Jam Tart (Recipe)

Ingredients for American Baking in France

184 comments

  • Between this and Mcgee’s new pasta cooking method, it looks like I am going to have to go back to cooking school!

  • This looks like fun! I have some mascarpone in the fridge and fresh, local strawberries available for purchase up the street. Time for a tart!

  • Wow, that’s incredible. No rolling? Sounds good to me, considering my kitchen counter space is about one square foot. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Wow that sounds incredible — and perfect for when you want to make a tart in a sticky NY apt on a hot summer day – given how uncooperative pie and tart doughs are in humid and warm weather… I’ll absolutely have to give this a go! Btw, I can’t wait for your book to come out. I’ve been holding my breath for MONTHS now – MONTHS!

  • I love this unorthodox method!

    I often melt the butter first when I am baking – especially when “creaming with sugar”, like for cookies. I can’t wait to try this!

    Also, it’s nice seeing your image pop up more frequently in your posts. Is that a dimple lurking there on your right cheek? Hmm…?

    XOXOXOX,

    ~ Paula

  • Holly: I actually just read a technique where you put pasta in cold water and bring it to a boil, to save energy. I don’t know if that’s Harold’s idea, but it’s pretty wacky, too. I love when things get turned on their heads. Just goes to show that cooking, and recipes, are never set in stone.

    Paula: Actually the pic is a study in male-pattern baldness. If there’s a dimple, that was me smirking, thinking this wouldn’t work ; )

  • Weird, this reminds me of pate choux dough. Why doesn’t it come out elastic?

  • That is very cool. And I can’t wait to try adding the flour to the bubbling oven heated butter. I like a little danger in my kitchen :-) And I adore tarts. I hope I have time to give this a try this weekend.

    Your iphone predicament reeks of oven door handle replacements and French banking. Let go and get chocolate! iphones are great, but I would trade mine for a “les snickers” and one of your priceless sesame baguettes. Throw in some Breton butter and we might just have a trade here…….

  • This is pretty much the dough that I use for my cheesecake shells, though I use double the sugar and no oil. Was taught to me by a friend’s Hungarian grandmother about thirty years ago. It works brilliantly.

    Jessica – I’d guess it doesn’t come out elastic because you’re not kneading it, just mixing it – it would probably become more elastic if you did. Plus, the liquid component is butter, not eggs…

  • Wow, this is wild!!! I have never, ever heard of doing this, but I am pumped to try it.

  • But what does the dough taste like? Is it hard and tough to cut with a fork?

  • Wow, no egg? That is interesting, thank you! I agree with Jessica, it made me think of choux pastry as well. I’m going to try it in a Corningware pot, I’m a bit nervy about pyrex in the oven to those temps..

  • What an interesting technique and it sounds delicious. I’m going to try making this tomorrow. By the way what’s that you put inside the pie crust? I’m curious and I’d like to know how you made it – pretty please!

  • Just in time for some tarts I’m going to make tonight – thank you!

  • David, this is an awesome recipe! Thank you David and Paule for sharing this!

  • You just HAD to do it, didn’t you?? Here I am, taking a well deserved break from prepping a 4 course dinner, getting my “Paris” fix on your blog and you post this intriguing recipe for tart dough which I of course want to drop EVERYTHING to try!!!

    Seriously, though, thanks so much for posting such terrific stories and recipes and helping assuage my longing for Paris!

  • I can’t wait to try this. It is so intriguing! Looking at your fingernails in the first photo I knew chocolate must be involved somehow. =)

  • Dan: Hmm, that’s interesting. There’s a bit of “guesswork” in this dough, which I tried to take out. But you could put cheesecake on anything and it would taste spectacular!

    Celia: I used a Pyrex bowl, but do check with the manufacturer of whatever bowl you’re using to make sure it can withstand the heat of the oven as indicated.

    Phoo-d: Those are Paule’s hands. We were eating chocolate before : )

    Sarah: I have 3 les snickers left. It’s a deal!

    (’cause I’ve got the recipe to make more…although they took us a week to make)

  • a strawberry tart is in my future… yum

  • I’m all about tart dough that doesn’t start with cold butter. I think Nicole’s idea of mascarpone and fresh strawberries sounds so very good. I can imagine a very pretty tart with alternating wedges of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I live in Texas and the weather there can wreck havoc on dough, so I’m looking forward to trying this on a hot, steamy, humidity-ridden day.

  • This is similar to an old hot water pastry recipe I’ve read. In that recipe the evil vegetable shortening was used and the boiling water poured over it to melt before whipping them together to add to the flour. This, of course, sounds more appetizing with browning butter in boiling water. The proportions are very close too. Now I’ll try it, your way! Thanks, David!

  • And I thought when an old woman told me to grate the butter into the flour, I was a having a culinary epiphany – but this, this is genius. And no resting time. And if you haven’t worked the flour too much, then no shrinkage?

  • I wonder how this would be with a savory filling – I’m thinking something along the lines of ricotta, spinach, sliced tomatoes, etc. Might be interesting!

  • Wow! So I’ve been wanting to bring this up this unorthodox yellow cake recipe from Eve’s Restaurant in Washington and now I have the perfect opportunity. The unorthodox thing is that all dry ingredients, including sugar, are combined with melted butter before the eggs are added. The end result was a yellow cake with a moist texure, similar to a cake mix, but more wholesome tasting, which was what I was looking for. But still, it seems so uncouth and I was wondering if anyone would want to comment on the great american yellow cake fetish and this recipe in particular.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/407976

  • Alice Medrich has a similar recipe in her Pure Desserts book for a lemon tart. I made it last year and was simply amazed. At first I too was totally skeptical, but Alice Medrich knows what she’s doing and has never let me down before. That technique changed my life, because it means you can make a tart shell with no planning ahead, AND it’s pretty much foolproof.

  • Holy smokes! When I saw that first photo, I thought, man is that crust going to be hard, so overworked. I think I am in shock. Like one of the other commenters, I grate my butter for crust, but never, ever melt it. Thanks for turning my world upside down. I can’t wait to try it!

  • Oh no chocolate ganache tart …be still my fluttering heart!!
    This sounds like a fabulous pastry for kids to make, as rolling often proves a bit of a challenge, thanks David!

  • I’ve taken Paule’s class (and her gourmet paris tour) and recommend both very highly.

    We made the crust with almond filling that day. I rarely make any other type of crust now, it is very versitile. I’ve used it with lemon curd, pastry cream and more. Even turned it into a chocolate crust for a tart with chocolate nibs. Another variation — I melt the butter in the microwave for added convenience.

    One word of warning — I’ve found you MUST use European style butter, American style is too watery and the crust will crack (still delicious, though).

    Thanks for featuring Paule

  • What a unique technique! Looks like Mother’s Day dessert will be tarts this year.

  • It does look quite puzzling indeed. Gotta give it a whirl… BTW, next time you can either use: “Tu rigoles” or if you don’t mind using a more colorful language: “Tu te foutes de ma gueule” or with its “vous” versions, if necessary.

  • My sister in law and I took a class from Paule at her home. We made a chocolate tart using this dough and we were both surprised and pleased. She called it the Caillat family recipe. It is sooooo easy, n’est-ce pas?!

  • Do you bake the tart shell at the same temperature that you melt the butter- 410 F?

    Yes, you do bake it at the same temperature. -dl

  • What a perfect recipe for french tart dough. But you *must* tell me what luscious tart is featured in the photo just after the recipe ends – looks like dark chocolate. Would you please share that recipe with me also? It looks heavenly! Thanks, great post – I can’t wait to make it myself.

  • You make it sound so easy!!

  • Mmh, delicious. I can smell it from Paris to Wellington.

  • what a departure from the norm…I am anxious to try this. thanks to you both for sharing it!

  • David,
    Thank you again for another ingenious recipe. I’ve been making your chocolate sorbet to rave reviews and now this to try.

  • This seems more like an APRIL 1st post….

    Anything, though, would be an improvement on my attempts at tart crust.

  • Oh that looks SOOOO good. And that sounds pretty do-able!

    I’m going to sound stupid =( but what’s the difference between a pie and a tarte? Uh…besides the pan they’re baked in.

  • I love this! I have been making shortbread for years by melting butter and mixing everything in and it makes the best shortbread ever – and I am a Scot who knows from shortbread! It also goes against all traditional techniques – so there!

  • Wow, I am intrigued by this method–mixing and heating the ingredients. It seems to go against everything I have ever learned! I’ve got to try this!

    As for the person above who commented on the difference between pie and tarte – though some think it is simply semantics, I tend to think (and granted, this is just my instinct talking) that a pie crust never has sugar (unless it’s a special type of pie crust that would indicate such, ie “graham cracker crust”), whereas a tart crust sometimes does. So maybe that would make a pie a tart, but a tart not necessarily a pie?

  • I’m sweating bullets and having a major anxiety attack. Placing butter into the oven and then retrieving it sounds like a wild adventure. Something in the back of my mind tells me to ready all three kitchen timers, randomly about the house and garden in an attempt to ‘REMEMBER’ that I have that item in the oven at 410 degrees.
    Other than my fear of burning down my house, I feel quite confident about this item. After all, these French folks know their business, my grandmother never wrote ‘nothin’ down and she lived to tell the tales.
    hmmmmm, which brings me to scour my brain cells for the least little rememberance of anything smoking from her oven……….hmmmm?????????

    You be a genius for hooking up with the wise woman of all things buttery. I’ll report back if I’m not smokin….

    ;)

  • I’ll have to try this sometime. Making tart dough is always a very tense moment. Is that a chocolate ganache tart in the photo?

  • Ah I used to love Chez Prune on the canal st martin!
    I’ll have a go at this technique, could work well in the Aga.

  • “pinch off a small amount of the reserved dough, roll it gently between your fingers to soften it, then wedge it into the cracks, smoothing it gently with your pinky” — ahhhh, yessss.

  • MY mouth is agape right now. Is this true… wait, for real? No no, I can’t believe my eyes (and it is 6:30am Saturday morning, so that’s logical). But I’m not referring to the boiling of the butter — I’m just talking about the fact that Paule released her special Caillat family crust – LE GRAND SECRET !!

    I learned her trick in a cooking class (at the old) chez elle in 2001 (the new kitchen, wow is right! Did you check out her new oven?!). It was a strawberry tart and it was divine. I did a story on her just this past summer – you’ll find 2 more of her recipes at the link below. You can all giggle at my text when I tell you you’ll have to take a cooking class to find out about her tart dough. I should have known one day David would find out ! Bravo ! :)

    http://mykugelhopf.ch/2008/08/promenades-gourmandes-in-paris/

  • This is the wildest tart dough recipe I have ever seen and heard! But I am curious how this tastes (with the water and oil) and what the texture is like. Worth an afternoon in my kitchen trying this out.

  • I just made your madelines last night and my kids ate them all this morning. Now I see there is another recipe I must try. I think I will try some vanilla custard with berries to go along with your interesting tart shell recipe.
    By the way, I just bought 5 of your books.
    Can I meet up with you to get them signed? : )
    Since I know there is no point in bribing you with baked goods (my usual trick with people) I will buy you a coffee.

  • I am agape (but not mid-gulp, thankfully). How totally fascinating! I’m currently on a pie/pastry rampage and this fits right in. Goodness…

  • I don’t know what I will fill it with, but I gotta try making some sort of tarte with this recipe today!

  • This sounds very much like a dough one of my listeners on Everyday Food Sirius112 /XM157 phoned in. She was taught it by her grandmother and swears by it.

  • Tami: I have that book, but have been so fixated on the Buckwheat Cocoa Nib Cookies, I can’t make anything else. Will give it a look.

    Maureen: I have a couple of public events coming up, which you can see on my schedule page, where I’ll be signing books.

    Margie: Fear not! I made it twice at home and I’m still here. And so is my kitchen—

  • Beautiful! I have a new convection oven which cooks fast. Now I have a fast butter crust to try. Never underestimate the power of a woman in the kitchen. Butter reacts to heat in different ways. Fast heat and Fast hands. How long do you wait before you handle this dough? Can you cool it at the dough stage and use it another day? Will it hold or do you need to use immediately? We are having a “bumper crop” of strawberries this year. The stores just keep dropping the price for 8 oz /2 weeks ago $1.00 and today 16 oz for $1.00 and they are beautiful berries. Sweet with a great moisture count. Early season berries sometimes tend to be dry and these are not that way. Texas has produce coming in from Mexico and now some of our farmers are showing home grown fruits and vegetables. Happy Kentucky Derby Day to you David! The 2009 “Running of the Roses” is this afternoon.

  • Very very funny! And your tart looks delicious…

  • I love the no rolling part (after making about eleventy bazillion tarts, I’m still pathetically rolling-challenged.) I often use a Patricia Wells pate brisee or sucree recipe, which I semi roll out, then end up smooshing into the pan with my fingers, reminding myself I’m (usually) ‘alone in the kitchen.’ It always turns out just fine. Will definitely be trying your recipe next time.

    But David, the melting the butter part is very interesting and reminded me of something…many moons ago, my college boyfriend was from the deep South. Besides being criminally cute, his attributes included making incredible biscuits – the way his mom had taught him. I was shocked that rather than cutting cold butter into the flour, as I’d always thought necessary, he simply melted and mixed it in. And the biscuits were always light and delicious. Go figure.

    And now, I’m suddenly craving tarts AND biscuits. ;-)

  • Fascinating! I don’t have the measurements handy to check the ratios, but this reads from the techniques like a cousin of pate a choux without the addition of eggs – maybe a little more fat as well. Hadn’t thought of then baking that into a dough; it now seems so obvious. Thanks!

  • Wow…unbelievable on boiled, oven heated butter crust…whatever! It’s crazy but it looks like it turned out fantastic!

  • I almost choked on my morning cappuccino when I read this post. It looks so greasy. I would just expect is all to slide into the bottom of the tart pan when baking. I will have to show this recipe to a friend who is scared to death of making pastry dough.

  • Hot water pastry – as it’s called in this house – is awesome. But I’ve only ever used it for savoury pies (something to do with it being better able to hold wet/saucy fillings).

    Now that I know I’m allowed to use it in other scenarios, well, hello world!

  • Am I the only one who’s appalled by the dirty nails of the woman working the tart dough into the pan?

  • Hi John: Her nails aren’t dirty, as mentioned above, they’re covered with chocolate since we were chopping (and eating) chocolate beforehand. I thought they looked like the hands of a real honest-to-goodness French cook, but I will change the picture.

  • “appalled by the dirty nails ” Please!!!!!!!!
    Are you the king that wears rubber gloves and wipes everything with alcohol?
    If you cook you get dirty. Period.
    Don’t change the picture.

  • I thought the dough in that first photo looked rather hot and sweaty…

  • WoW!!! This looks awesome! Was it hard? It looks pretty easy. I just started on The 100 Calorie Diet. Do you have any idea what the calorie count might be? I love sweets as much as you do… :)

  • Please, don’t look at my nails. I just put in the oven a chocolate tarte, being American, and I always manage to get some chocolate under my nails. Once again, David, your post sent me to the kitchen to bake. The dough was easy, looks fabulous, I let it cool and heated heavy cream, mixed with chocolate and made I guess a ganache(?) added an egg, and I am baking for about 10 minutes or so. Tonight we have dessert, no dinner planned, but yes dessert.

  • David!!

    This just made my day. But, I have a question. Most recipes for tarte a l’oignon (what I’m hoping to make tomorrow) are looking for a raw tart shell, so can I fill this pre-baking and take it from there?

    Rachel

  • Bonjour everybody. I am grateful to David for giving this «secret recipe » the exposure it truly deserves. My husband’s grandmother, who got it from a neighbor decades ago, never left France, and lived to be one hundred years old. If she only knew … Having made it probably a few thousand times over the years, here are some general recommendations :
    the hotter the butter, the better. Because it has water and oil in it, it will not burn quickly. And make sure you have the richest butter available, unsalted of course. I recommend Plugra. When adding the flour, just push it to the center, it will be immediately absorbed. If you add too much flour, strangely it will be too flaky once cooked, so add carefully after it forms a ball and comes off the sides of the bowl. David’s photos show well the texture you want to obtain. The comparison with Pâte à choux comes up often . There are many differences : the oil (with my friend Rosa Jackson we tested without that tablespoon of oil, and it was no good), the way the butter and other ingredients melt together until really hot. As a shortcut, you can use the microwave for the first part, but once you have added the flour, you must bake in the oven, and this time watch carefully, because it could burn past the « golden » stage.

    Ciaochowlinda : the dough tastes of butter … and is crisp but not hard

    Prue : no shrinkage indeed

    Bria : I often use it for savory, quiches etc… still add some sugar (a teaspoon versus a tablespoon) for a crisp texture.

    Faith : great to reconnect through this and thank you for the kind words.

    Lu : and thank you for the testimony

    Kerrin : mais oui, on ne peut pas garder éternellement un tel « secret »

    msmarmitelover : I made it last year in the english countryside on an Aga, it works !

    Mystic Meg : I handle the dough immediately, well, as soon as my hands can stand its temperature. Do not wait for it to dry out. Just line your molds and blind bake, you can fill the next day if needed, but do not refrigerate.

    Rachel : it is essential to prebake fully before filling

  • I just made this crust, cooled it and filled it with a lemon sabayon filling. This crust is SO EASY to work with! I was able to press it completely into the tart pan with just the spatula. I did go over the sides with the fork after I docked it just for insurance. It didn’t shrink at all. It baked perfectly at 400º for the 15 minutes called for in the recipe and was a beautiful medium golden brown. I love this recipe. Thank you Paula and David for allowing us to enjoy this wonderful tart crust.

  • so it is alright that I will be baking the dough twice for my tarte a l’oignon? it won’t get dry?

  • Hi David!

    This was my first ever attempt at French tart dough and it was super easy! It turned out really well. I filled it with a apple-almond filling. Brilliant!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • I too am quite curious about using this recipe for fillings that need to be baked, David, I too think you have been growing more handsome lately.

  • David! Your book has arrived! It’s on the shelves at WHSmith! So any Parisians needing their fix can head on down . . . I’ve already dived in and of course it’s wonderful wonderful wonderful – no surprise with the quality of writing and sense of curiosity — and humor– displayed on your blog!

  • Kim: Yikes! That was fast…glad you’re enjoying the book. I’m doing an appearance there on . Hang on to your receipt and if you come, I’ll sign your copy!

  • I think my jaw dropped mimicking your facial expression when I read this unorthodox dough tip… I am intrigued and might just have to make the dough simply for the sake of experimentation! Excellent tip today David!

  • David, I made the tart yesterday. It tasted really good, but stuck, somewhat, to my tart pan. Would it work to put a round of parchment in pan prior to patting in the dough?

  • I really need to purchase a tart pan. I would love to start making some tarts this Spring and Summer with fresh fruits. What a simple yet beautiful presentation they make!

  • Hi,
    I’m a big fan of your blog, and a Parisian exiled (well, one of those voluntary exiles) in England. You often make me quite nostalgic. Anyway, why bother heating the butter in the oven and risking burning oneself? Would a normal stovetop beurre noisette procedure do? Or does the oven add something?
    Thanks!

  • hi david

    well, if you can’t be in Paris, your blog is a nice, close second. Love the sound of your teacher friend, a little of this and that et voila–the dough sounds similar to a sable dough, where you can also just pinch and press into the pan. But this one with its subtle browned butter, and no eggs, is a must try. Will send out to my other baker friends. Thanks.

  • Be still my beating heart…I feel like you caught me mid-gulp. GASP…how unprepared I was for this! It’s LOVELY, & eggless=what I totally DIG!! I’m terrified of visitng blogs…this is spectacular!

  • “tu rigoles” ou tu “tu te fous de ma gueule” would be a little bit wild, maybe even rude, I think, even if you use “vous”… You’d maybe rather say “vous plaisantez, non?” or “c’est une plaisanterie, non?”…
    LOVE what you do by the way (I come here few times a week to check if there is something new…) (really really LOVE… In particular your chocolat sauce which is the best I’ve ever tasted, and that’s not flattering : I’m totally addicted to that stuff which I’ve always got in my fridge now)

  • What an unusual technique! My mouth dropped open too as I read it. I still can’t quite picture how it works. Definitely one I’ll try. Your photos look gorgeous!

  • The comment about using European butter (Faith?) sounds right since it has more butterfat. I’ll be sure to use the good stuff the first time I attempt this recipe. Thanks, David and Faith!

  • so i used this dough to make a very rustic tarte a l’oignon (in a cast iron skillet, no doubt), the crust was baked twice, and still worked absolutely wonderfully!! thanks david!

  • Am I the only one that wants the recipe for the chocolate ganache filling?! It is absolutely gorgeous. If it is in one of your books, point me in the right direction. If not and you can part with the recipe, I’d love it.

    Can’t wait to try this method for tart dough.

    Congratulations on your book release! Will you be back in the states for some events and signings?

  • Wow, this is amazing. I live in a sub-tropical part of the world, so making pastry traditionally can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. The butter having to remained chilled, often requires the mixing bowl to make frequent return visits to the fridge / freezer in order to maintain the required temperature. This, on the other hand, solves all my problems mid summer. Doesn’t matter that it’s over 30C / 90F outside with almost 95% humidity, I now can still make pastry dough!!! Thanks so much for sharing. This is DEFINITELY going on my list.

  • cool! we made a raspberry tarte at home just saturday. Your recipe would’ve come in handy. But there is always a next time ;-)

  • I am a big fan of Paule’s and always do her class when in Paris. Highly recommended!

    Didn’t see mentioned here that Paule recommends using a low gluten flour (French flour #45). For those in the US without French 45 flour, I use White Lily All-Purpose Plain Flour (not self rising) as a substitute. This old Southern favorite now has national distribution (Whole Foods).

    Thanks David.
    Ron

  • hi Ron: Actually her and I had that discussion and I suggested we try type 65 flour, which didn’t occur to her. (In that pretty bag!)

    She actually liked it and I think she might start using that, although the regular French flour (45), works, too.

    Rachel: Glad it was a hit at your house, too!

  • I cannot believe my luck – on a whim last week I walked into a store and there was a single set of tart pans, looking orphoned and on sale for next to nothing.

    I gave them a good scrub, then set them into the cupboard, but they’ll be coming out this week for sure!!

    Thank you for sharing this unique dough. Now I just need to make the lemon curd and find some fresh raspberries. My mouth is watering already.

  • I just had to try this and it worked beautifully. All I had on hand was bread flour so that is what I used. This seems to be a very forgiving pastry.

  • I made this today, and hate to put a damper on the enthusiasm, but we (kids, hubby, and I) didn’t go for it. It was shatteringly crisp (wouldn’t stay in one piece when cut) and drew our mouths (not quite sure why—too dry?). I used a scale for the measurements, so I think that part was accurate… Anyway, I only made it once, so take my opinions with a grain of salt—maybe we’d love it a second time around.

  • This is so great! I know making pastry is a bit challenge but this one is so hard to resist I cant wait to try to make this tarts myself .

  • Jacques Pépin credits his mother for a similar recipe in The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen… I was too chicken to try it all this time, but I definitely will now that it’s got an extra seal of approval! Thanks again!

  • David, I took a class with Paule last year – she is charming, and real, and funny, sweet as pie, really, really, energetic – in her old kitchen. But, boy howdy, did this pasrty-making method shock me, too. The photo of her above made me smile. Hi, Paule!

  • I like to use a similar technique for shocking Americans! (One of my favorite pass times) Although I use soft butter, not mixed with boiling water. Will give it a go.

  • Definitely want to try this one. I often melt the butter when making cookies instead of creaming it at room temperature with the sugar.

    I understand about trying to pin Paule down on measurements. A friend is teaching me to make Trinidadian roti and I can only get her to commit to mounds of flour and a handful of baking powder.

  • i tried it yesterday evening and i must say, WOW. the dough didn’t quite come together (too much flour? although i weighed it!), so i added a few splashes of hot water, which seemed to do the trick. baked most of it in a regular tart pan, then filled with grandma’s apple-orange jam and grated the rest of the dough on top and sprinkled with some demerara. i must say, it was gorgeous. (even though, i admit, i was indeed very skeptical) so very flaky and not hard at all, so perfect.
    and with the ease of preparation (and no letting the dough sit in the fridge!! woohoo, i can have my tartshell ready in half an hour, start to finish!!) in mind, i think this might become my go-to non-sweet tart dough. Paula is a genius.

  • hi david,
    i made this dough last night…it came together so quickly and i filled it with lemon cream (via dorie greenspan, via Pierre Hermé, yummy!) it was perfect. i always, always have to battle tart dough, so this was a godsend…thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Wow, just put the butter in the oven. I hope it works out. Thanks for this!

  • Thanks for sharing this ingenious recipe. If I may, I’d like to join Murasaki in asking how to get that devilish filling (I can’t speak for M., but I’m as green as they come). If that’s chocolate ganache, do I fill the tart AFTER the shell’s cooled? Or is it more like chocolate pudding–something I have to put towards the end and let cook for a while?