SWEET TART PASTRY
Makes: 1 9 or 11-inch tart shell
1 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, firm
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times to blend.
Distribute the butter around the bowl and pulse 6 to 7 times. Then process for 6 to 8 seconds. The crumbs should be about the size of coarse meal.
Empty the crumbs on to a cool surface. Form the mixture into a mound. Make a 4 to 5-inch well in the center of the mound. Combine the egg and vanilla, and pour the mixture into the well.
Using a fork, draw the crumbs into the egg mixture, about 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. When all of the crumbs are added, toss the mixture a few times with a pastry scraper to form large clumps, then scrape into a mound.
Using the heel of your hand, fresage or push about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dough at a time, outward in 6 to 8-inch sweeps. This will incorporate the fat and flour together and give the crust a delicate texture. If your hand becomes sticky, flour it as needed. Repeat the process until all of the dough has been worked. Gather the dough into a mound again, then repeat the entire procedure 2 additional times.
After the third fresage, flour your hands and gently knead the dough 5 or 6 times to make it smooth. Shape into a 4 to 5-inch disk. Dust the disk lightly with flour, score with the side of your hand, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before shaping. Do not let the dough become to hard or it will be difficult to roll. If it does, let the pastry soften at room temperature.
Copyright @ 2001 by Carole Walter, CCP