Sweet Tart Dough
 

Recipe Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 444 

1.5 cups all-purpose flour                                                  

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 large egg yolk

Directions: Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.  Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in - you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes, and some the size of peas.  Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition.  When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.  Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

To Press the Dough into the Pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked.  Don't be too heavy-handed - press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.  Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To Partially or Fully Bake the Crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust.  (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.)  Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil.  (I had a horrible time with this both times.  Each time, the foil took off quite a bit of the crust when I removed it no matter how much I buttered it or how gently I removed the foil.)  If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon.  For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).

To Fully Bake the Crust: Bake for another 8 minutes or so, or until it is firm and golden brown.  (I dislike lightly baked crusts, so I often keep the crust in the oven just a little longer.  If you do that, just make sure to keep a close eye on the crust's progress - it can go from golden to way too dark in a flash.) Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature before filling. (I kept mine in 10 minutes, but had to use a pie shield to keep the edges from burning.)

To Patch A Partially or Fully Baked Crust, If Necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin pieces of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust.  If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch. (The edges broke/came off with the foil in several spots the second time I made the crust. I used the saved dough to patch it up as best I could before finishing the baking.)