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French tart dough recipe

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 friend who taught cooking classes 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 une plume. It was as if someone told me that I had packed up and split to a foreign country with no plans for my future. It was all just crazy-talk. (However you say that in French…)

browned-butter dough ball

So Paule invited me to her kitchen 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.

tart 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

In France, I use type 65 organic flour, which is similar to American all-purpose flour. Small cracks after baking in the dough are normal so I wouldn’t use this dough for a very 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. A reader let me know that it works well with King Arthur's gluten-free Measure for Measure flour for those who are gluten-free
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.
Course Dessert
Servings 8 servings
  • 85g (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting vegetable oil, (I used canola)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 160g (5.5oz, or 1 rounded cup) flour
  • Preheat the oven to 410º F (210º C).
  • In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
  • Place the bowl in the oven until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges. It may take up to 15 minutes, but check before.
  • When done, remove the bowl from oven and reduce the heat to 375ºF (190ºC). 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. .
  • Transfer the dough to a 9-inch (23 cm) tart mold with a removable bottom and spread it a bit with a spatula.
  • Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with the heel of your hand, 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Let the shell cool before filling.
French lemon tart recipe-13

Related Links

French Lemon Tart 

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.



    • Holly

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

    • Nicole

    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!

    • MrsT

    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.

    • radish

    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!

    • Paula Maack

    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…?


    ~ Paula

    • David

    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 ; )

    • Jessica “Su Good Sweets”

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

    • Sarah

    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…….

    • Dan

    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…

    • maggie (p&c)

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

    • Ciaochowlinda

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

    • Celia

    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..

    • Murasaki Shikibu

    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!

    • talida

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

    • Amy

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

    • Culinary Rose

    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!

    • Phoo-D

    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. =)

    • David

    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)

    • Jill

    a strawberry tart is in my future… yum

    • Natanya

    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.

    • Susan

    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!

    • Prue

    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?

    • Bria

    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!

    • Carrie

    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.

    • Tami

    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.

    • Colleen

    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!

    • Bron

    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!

    • Faith Kramer

    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

    • Shawnda

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

    • Roberto N.

    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.

    • Lu

    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?!

    • Kate

    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

    • Leslie

    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.

    • Stephanie

    You make it sound so easy!!

    • Sarah

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

    • elizabeth

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

    • Lynda Engle

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

    • Steve

    This seems more like an APRIL 1st post….

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

    • joyciel

    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.

    • Charlotte Caldwell

    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!

    • CakeSpy

    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?

    • Margie

    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….


    • Yoko Gardiner

    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?

    • msmarmitelover

    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.

    • Thea Gurns

    “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.

    • Kerrin – MyKugelhopf

    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 ! :)

    • Kathy Diaz

    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.

    • Maureen

    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.

    • Mama JJ

    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…

    • Kate

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

    • Sandy Gluck

    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.

    • David

    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—

    • MysticMeg

    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.

    • Dada

    Very very funny! And your tart looks delicious…

    • Amy

    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. ;-)

    • Mike

    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!

    • Katie

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

    • Eileen @ Passions to Pastry

    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.

    • kim at Hey Mum, I’m Hungry!

    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!

    • june2

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

    • Trey W

    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… :)

    • Rachel


    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?


    • Paule Caillat

    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

    • Susan

    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.

    • Rachel

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

    • Jennifer

    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!

    • lee

    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.

    • Kim B.

    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!

    • The Antiques Diva

    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!

    • Arlene

    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?

    • bakingblonde

    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!

    • Julie

    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?

    • romney Steele

    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.

    • deeba

    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!

    • MleL

    “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)

    • Elissa

    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!

    • Memoria

    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!

    • Rachel

    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!

    • Suzanne

    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?

    • Julia @ Mélanger

    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.

    • adrian

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

    • Ron Thomas

    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.

    • David

    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!

    • TorontoSarah

    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.

    • Maggie

    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.

    • Mama JJ

    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.

    • Contest Guru

    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 .

    • Nuri

    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!

    • Laura

    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!

    • Olga

    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.

    • Abigail

    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.

    • jule

    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.

    • cindy

    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!

    • George

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

    • lloix

    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?

    • Andre Perron

    This is like the “oil & water” method of pie crust. 2 1/3 C (350 gm.) flour 1/3 C water 2/3 cup oil measure in same cup. 1-1 1/2 tsp salt. stir salt & flour together. Add oil/water all at once. Then FOLD ingedients together just until dough comes together. Do not “stir” or “mix”. This is for 2 crust pie. Roll out between wax paper or heavy plastic. Best if eaten same day baked. NOW the point I like to make is I also melt butter and use warm water hot enough to keep butter liquid and proceed as above. Melting butter in oven to brown a little bit is a nice touch I do not consider before, but shall try. Best regards to all.

    • Keri

    David, generally do your recipes use “dip and sweep” when measuring flour or the “spoon lightly in a cup” method? I ask because the dough never came together in a ball, even though I thought I was conservative with the flour. (But I did dip-and-sweep.) Of course, it now occurs to me it might be my flour since I use King Arthur’s all-purpose, which seems to have a higher protein count than other brands.

    Nonetheless, the tart is baking in my oven. Hate to put anything to waste so fingers crossed that it comes out.

    For Mother’s Day my husband presented me with your latest book over breakfast. We’re both big fans of your blog, and even though he is (an admitted) disaster in the kitchen, he did make your Rice Krispie treats with white chocolate and candied peanuts for my birthday last year, cooking the recipe over several nights after I went to bed. So thank you for all the baking joy you’ve brought to our home! :)


    Hello! I am very anxious to make this pie. Loved the way to do this dough. I will tell you after.

    A hug.

    • Julie

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, David. Any ideas on how to modify it for an 11.5-inch tart pan?

    • Em

    David I cannot thank you enough for posting Paule Caillat’s tart dough recipe. This (unconventional, to me) method produced the MOST AMAZINGLY PERFECT tart shell that has gotten nothing short of raves from my colleagues and everyone else who’s tasted it. I used the shell for Dorie’s Tartest Lemon Tart and it was nothing short of perfection.

    Thank you!
    Thank you!
    Thank you!

    ~The Repressed Pastry Chef

    • Ameia

    I just made this. Love it. Don’t know what I’ll put it the shell but I was dying to try it since I saw it here. I used bakingbites’ method since I was going to do that anyway. I can’t ever follow a recipe, I have to alter everything to suit me, my preferred ingredients, etc.

    My crust is great with no cracks. I used organic Canadian butter, raw sugar, no oil and just eyeballed the butter amount since I just packed up my baking things for my big move. I can’t wait to try a savoury version of. Merci de nous avoir raconte cette recette, David!

    • Laura Flowers

    Um David, for once I am speechless. This goes against all natural laws, and yet it looks so beautiful. I guess I better get my backside to the kitchen…


    • Kate

    Just wanted to say thanks- have used this recipe twice in the past week, for both savory and sweet, and am in love. Forget working with cold butter for tart crusts- this is the way to go!

    • david

    Hi Julie: You can certainly increase the ingredients proportionally, to make more dough, then freeze any leftover for the next time. Or use them to make some smaller tarts.

    You could also make cookies from the leftover dough, fashioning it into round and sprinkling them with sugar (and cinnamon, perhaps) before baking.

    • Joanna

    My oven goes by 25℉ increments, so there is no 410° Please tell me that 400°
    is pretty much the same…
    Also: when you say to increase the dough proportionally for a larger tart pan, do you mean an exact double of each ingredient?

    • David

    Joanna: Yes, you can use a similar temperature; just bake it until it’s done, as shown in the photo. If you want to increase the dough, proportionally means you can do it by 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, or double it if you wish.

    • adrian

    Thanks, David and Paule!
    I haven’t baked much in my life and was therefore surprised by the reactions to heating butter. That sounded better to me than cold butter any day. And it worked quite well though there were hints of smoke in the kitchen and the dough slid down the sides of the form a bit.
    My question: How do you prevent the sliding? We left out the oil. Could that be it?
    And, as Julie asked above: Can you do this on the stovetop instead?

    • David

    hi adrian: When folks swap or leave out ingredients, results are bound to differ so I can’t address the sliding issue, but Nic over at Baking Bites made a variation of this recipe, Browned Butter Tart Dough, which she cooked on the stovetop with great success.

    • Francesca

    Could this dough be used in place of pate brisee for pie crust?? Until now, I have felt rather daunted by making dough (maybe because of the Texas humidity?). Nevertheless, after successfully mastering pasta frolla and using it to make the most heavenly Lemon Tart with your lemon curd recipe, I am determined to master the others. I am still learning which doughs make which pastries – hence, my confusion as to whether “tart” dough can be used for pies?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Sachin

    Whoops. Just saw your reply to Joanna, which implies that small temperature variation should not be an issue. Back to troubleshooting.


    • Leslie

    Today was spring cleaning for my fridge. I had some leftover passion fruit puree so instead of lemon curd I made passion fruit curd and piled it into 6 mini graham cracker crumb-filled tart shells and topped them off with meringue made from the the two whites left from the curd. I also made some soupe au pistou with everything in my produce bin and some pesto I brought back from Italy. All-in-all, not a bad meal. Thank you David! You are my favorite blogger!

    • JanetM

    I just got around to making this crust. This has to be the easiest, tastiest crust I’ve ever made. It is also surprisingly light. This is my new go-to crust! THANK YOU!!

    • jane

    This reminds me of an old time recipe using Wesson Oil, the difference is that the old recipe was not heated. It makes a wonderful flakey crust too. Thank you David for such a great blog.

    • Erin

    I just bought some beautiful raspberries and am dreaming of a tart with the berries on a base of pastry cream. I remembered you posting this recipe recently, so now it’s time for me to give it a try!

    • Hajar this recipe turn out great. Buttery and crisp also not to sweet.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Kimberly

    Thank you, thank you for this amazing recipe! I’ve made this several times, and it always comes out perfect. This has saved me a lot of frustration in my hot kitchen, and prevented a lot of gray hairs I’m sure!

    • MaryM

    I tried to get through all 122 comments to see if this question has been answered, but I’m afraid I’m not blessed with the sort of patience one should be. It’s great to hear from those who have tried the recipe, or have a specific question or suggestion. Ok, here’s what I’m wondering:

    Can one substitute Lard for oil in this recipe, or would it burn (or, with my luck, catch fire – a potential outcome that occurred to me just before I decided to just try it myself and post the results)? I’d like to do this if there’d be a good outcome, since it adds a nicer flavor than oil.

    • david

    Hi MaryM: As far as I know, French cooks don’t use lard in baking (and I don’t use it myself…I’m a butter-guy), but if you do try it, please do let us know how it turns out…I’d be quite interested!

    • castor de luxe


    this recipe has changed my life! i am not even being hyperbolic. without a doubt, this was the best pastry crust i have ever made. i made a savory tarte (used olive oil instead of canola oil) using roasted orange cauliflower, carmelized onions, mascarpone and aged white cheddar.

    have you had any luck trying to chill the flattened dough and use it as a pie top? i’m going to try this…

    • Carole

    I stumbled across your Blog by accident and on browsing came to find this recipe, now I love my own pastry even though I have hot hands it always comes out well but whilst it is great for Apple Pies and savouries being light crisp and tasty it has never had that crisp almost melting quality of French sweet tart pastry, I have tried many others over the years but nothing quite like this one. Obviously it is only really any good for a tart shell because of the nature of it SO having Dorie Greenspans Paris Sweets to hand with its rather nice sounding Creme Patisserie recipe and a good old punnet of English strawberries and one of Scottish Raspberries I figured I would give it a go. Boy am I glad I did, how easy and how absolutely delicious this method is, I made a 9″ tart which four of us demolished in one sitting it was that good. The pastry made that satisfying noise you only get from a crisp tart shell, it melted in the mouth, the unanimous verdict was it was better than any tart we have had in France in our 20 years of visiting so thank you for this, its one I shall use frequently and as I still have a quantity of creme patisserie left in the freezer and it is still English strawberry season……….(big smile)

    • Sharon

    Do you rebake the tart dough after you’ve patched the cracks? And for how long?


    • David

    No, the heat of the dough will ‘set’ it.

    • KH

    WOW! This recipe is amazing (and shocking)! Love it!! Thank you.

    • Tiare Ferrari

    Though baked sweets etc for year, “pie/pastry” dough has always eluded me. Even when everything is done “by the book” at best it has come out as barely adequate. And I would invariably go back to an old recipe of oil and water whipped together then flour etc -again the flaky texture was there, but flavour was lacking. I hated to admit it but my best crusts were the ones that I bought at Surfas..

    I made this pastry dough yesterday for an Almond Frangipane tart and it was totally totally perfect.

    When I first read through it I thought that there were things missing, like the little ceramic baking balls to hold the crust up, and the time need to “let the crust rest”

    But no, you did not leave anything out. The shell was perfect! it held it’s walls, it was light and flaky, and the tart was outrageously delish (it is a swoon worthy fav of mine)

    Thank you!!!!

    • Mart

    Hi David,

    Just stumbled on this post and i have known that a thing like this existed. Nver tried it however and i’ll make sure i’ll do know! I wondered if you could could shine a light of what would happen if you used just oil. Off course the taste would be different but the structure? I’m asking this since i’m having to deal with a glut (?) of olive oil before the next batch will come in.


    • ameia

    I’ve used this recipe many times since reading it here and love it. I hate labouring over food and a small collection of easy pastry recipes is one of the most important things in my kitchen.
    Thanks so much for posting it.

    • Dan

    Can this dough be frozen

    • David

    Dan: I haven’t frozen this dough, but I don’t see any reason why it can’t be. If you do freeze it, please let us know how to works out.

    Mart: Oil is different than butter in many ways, specifically fat content. Can’t advise if it would work or not, but I would imagine that boiling oil in the oven won’t have the same effect that it does on butter.

    • anushruti

    I’m planning to make this soon. A question: In this recipe, is it necessary to fill the tart shell with pie weights before blind baking to retain the shape of the shell?

    • jennie

    I am just starting to bake what I consider special desserts and I found this site while looking for a tart recipe so I can make frangipan topped with plums. Will this lovely tart work for this? Do I just bake the tart shell and then fill with my frangipan filling, top with plums and bake again? Any help you could give me would be appreciated.

    • David

    jennie: Yes, you can use this dough for any sweet pastry recipe that called for a pre-baked tart shell. For your tart, do pre-bake it, then fill with filling and plums, and bake.

    anushruiti: Paule does not fill this tart shell with weights; it’s just baked as is.

    • Jennie

    Thank you so much for responding, I can hardly wait to try this and I will certainly write and let you know how it was recieved. I noticed in several comments that people were asking what the chocolate filling was in the picture – YUMMY, did you ever give that recipe out? I have some serious choco-holics in my family. Jennie

    • Jennie

    YUM – YUM – YUM. This beautiful tart was just the trick for the frangipan and plum filling. Even as unskilled as I am everyone loved it, I could hardly wait to get home from work tonight to gobble up the last piece. Was that devine chocolate filling in your tart something from one of your cookbooks? PLEASE tell me how to find it, this looks like something that I would love to make for gifts. Jennie

    • David

    The chocolate filling is a recipe I was testing, which will appear in my upcoming book, Ready for Dessert.

    • Amy

    Just made this tart – was amazing! And so quick to make. My family is all about, add some of this and some of that =) To get a recipe from my mum, I just have to watch her do it and try to gauge how much she is actually using of the ingredients – it’s as if she can sense the right amount. Maybe that’s experience?!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe David and Paule!

    • Johnette

    David, the recipe call for 5 oz flour( or 1 slightly rounded cup ). but isn’t a cup 8 oz?
    Please advise and thank you.

    • David

    Johnette: A cup is 8 ounces in wet measurements. Since flour is dry (and is not solid, like a liquid), it weighs less.

    • Judy Harris, Baker’s doz ,member

    Question, David

    I want to try that tart dough but use mini muffin tins for tartlets. What happens if I roll it to do so????? Can one do this and not bake it right away–put it in freezer for Thanksgiving. Will it then be heavy??

    Thanks. Judy

    • Barbara

    I just wanted to thank you for this amazing recipe! I was perusing for a nice but above all easy tarte dough to make in my ridiculously tiny kitchen. I barely ever have the room to roll anything out, this worked perfectly. No one would believe how it was done though.

    • Judy Harris, Baker’s doz ,member

    I am still questioning the Caillot dough and rolling it out in advance.

    • Stefan Winter

    I read this post with such excitement, I couldn’t wait to make this tart shell. I had just received fresh pecans from Georgia and what better holiday than Thanksgiving for a pecan tart? I know you said this would not be advised for a custard filling, but I have to say, mine turned out perfect. After spreading the dough out to perfection, no cracks, I immediately froze it. This allowed me to fill the shell without any worry of leakage. It was beautiful, flaky and decadent.
    Thanks to you (and Mme. Caillat) my tart was a major success! A few of my friends exclaimed it was my best ever.
    I felt compelled to say thank you. I look forward to more time off so I can try more of your recipe collection! Kouign Amann next!

    • san c. shields

    I am preparing a tart that calls for a filling of melted bittersweet chocolate, an egg yoke, milk and creme fraise. The instructions advise pouring the liquid mixture into tart crust and baking for 25 minutes. My question is, should the crust be baked for any period of time prior pouring in the filling? I have read through all of the above blogs and look forward to trying this new approach. Thank you.

    • David

    san: I don’t know what recipe you’re using so can’t advise. That depends if the recipe you’re using calls for a pre-baked crust, or one that hasn’t been baked. The recipe for the filling should indicate that.

    Stefan: Glad you have success with this one!

    Judy: I don’t know if it can rolled. I follow her advice and recipe, and it works well. If you do roll it out, please let us know how it comes out.

    • Kitarra

    This is the most wonderful, most perfect tart dough ever. Despite having taken classes, I can’t seem to get pie and tart dough right. Until now!

    I made about half a dozen tarts over Thanksgivings and each one turned out perfectly. I used the browned butter recipe. It couldn’t be easier. Even my mother ended up making the dough on her own and she doesn’t bake!

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    I am giddy to have a truly foolproof recipe I can use.

    • Jack

    OMG. OMG. OMG. I came across your blog entry here months ago and was highly skeptical that this melted butter craziness could ever produce a flakey pastry shell. So I finally got around to testing it tonight (alone with your Lemon Tart recipe) because I need to bring dessert for a potluck tomorrow. This recipe is AMAZING! I actually melted my butter on the stove instead of using the oven. Much faster but also riskier in that everything could boil off quickly. Anyway, thanks for this! Lemon tarts are my all time favorite and I’ve never been able to make them at home until now!! Merry Christmas! The guests at the party tomorrow will thank you!

    • Brittany

    Dear David,

    PLEASE HELP! Just made this and my shell cracked into a million pieces :((((((

    I used a 9 in tarte pan with removable bottom. I let shell cool completely, removed outer layer successfully, but then broke my shell when I tried to remove the bottom.

    It tastes great, not overly dry or flaky so I wonder what the problem was? Maybe I didn’t fill in the cracks well enough? Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Thank you for the recipe! I know it will be perfect once I fix this glitch ;)


    • David

    I haven’t had that experience so can’t advise. If you tried the recipe only once, I would try it again as I, and many other readers, have had success with it.

    If it doesn’t work again, I will send a message to Paule and perhaps she might be able to respond here in the comments.

    • Rosemarie

    I made this tart dough last night and was amazed at the ease with which it came together. It was so light, buttery and flaky. Perfect! Thanks again, David.

    • Ellenmary

    I made this twice, once filled with chocolate tart business (dark chocolate, cream, sugar salt – what is that called? ganache?) and everyone loved it so I doubled the recipe for a baked egg custard tart. (Delia Smith’s filling – very traditional)

    I have to say, it is THE perfect custard tart pastry. Mother and I are very impressed and have remarked on how interesting it is to stumble upon these recipes, out of the billions online, and have such a great success. Recipe Fate, I call it. Thanks David.

    I’m heading to Paris in June so will be printing out your restaurant list before I go :)

    In response to Brittany’s troubles with the pastry falling apart: Yes, this happened to me too! I did not remove the base at all, as I had so much trouble with the edges coming off that I wouldn’t risk it. Nobody noticed! I “glued” them back together with a smidgen of melted chocolate piped from a freezer bag with a corner snipped off. This was OK because I was using a chocolate filling. My second attempt, where I doubled the recipe was a success. Next time i will triple the recipe for two tarts. An extra 50% for each tart. Besides, a 9 inch tart doesn’t last very long, does it!


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