How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes

 How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts

Learn how to make your tart dough through these easy step-by-step recipe. It doesn’t stop there! You can also learn about the different ways you can use the dough to make a variety of tart treats!


One tart dough recipe, infinite possibilities! It’s like the ultimate BOGO for your creative baker’s spirit! A simple tart dough recipe is that perfect foundation for endless dessert ideas. There is an incredible versatility with this dough that is a perfect basis for your personal innovation. I want to give you three completely different ideas that can be used with the same tart dough recipe.  With recipes for a classic tart, a crostata, and a sugar cookie, you will definitely feel inspired to create your own desserts! 


There are a few major differences between pie and tart doughs. Consider tart dough to be the older, stronger, and more reliable sibling of pie dough. A basic sweet tart dough will be much sturdier and less flaky than pie dough when it is baked. This is due to a few reasons: adding an egg yolk, using confectioner’s sugar rather than granulated sugar, and mixing the butter more thoroughly. All three of these factors contribute to tart dough’s stronger, more emulsified structure.

Another added bonus? Sweet tart dough shares the same essence of a shortbread cookie: very buttery, rich, sweet, crisp, but still tender. This is a crust you will want to eat! No end pieces left behind!


ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS monitor the temperature of your ingredients and the final tart dough! Temperature can be the saving grace of your tart dough, or its utter demise! It is necessary to keep ingredients like eggs, butter, and water as cold as possible before adding it to the other ingredients.

Because butter has a naturally low melting point, it softens easily, which can compromise the structure and texture of the final product. Mixing the dough at room temperature and kneading the dough with your hands both contribute to melting the butter.

To ensure that your dessert maintains the perfect shape you want, it is ESSENTIAL to refrigerate your dessert at least 45 minutes before baking. This time allows the butter to re-harden and will maintain the structure of the molded tart dough once heat is applied. Refrigeration also helps to relax the gluten structure you have built when you were mixing the dough – this will help lower the elasticity of the final product, keeping it tender.


My basic tart dough will you give you a perfect opportunity for you to use your own creativity.  Be inspired to change the recipes. Have fun!



  • 1 1/2 cups   All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp   Salt
  • 1/3 cup   Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup  Cold butter, cubed
  • 1 large  Egg yolk 
  • 2 Tbsp  Cold water


  1. Mix the flour, salt, and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut in the cold butter with a hand-held pastry blender or with the paddle attachment of a Kitchen-Aid until it resembles fine bread crumbs. There will still be chunks of butter throughout the mixture.
  3. Add the egg yolk and mix until incorporated.  Add the water and mix with pastry blender until incorporated.  The dough will still be mealy, but should stick together in a mass when squeezed in your hand.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand until you obtain a smooth dough. Do not overknead.
  5. Press into a circle (or a log, if making cookies), wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts



A classic tart is a beautiful showpiece when done correctly. You can use a baked tart shell for any number of prepared fillings: ganache, pastry cream, whipped cream, puddings, curds, fresh fruit, and much more.  What is even more pleasantly convenient is that a classic tart can easily be used as a unique alternative to most traditional pie fillings. Swap this recipe for a pie crust the next time you make pumpkin pie or lemon meringue!  

I do want to warn you: It does take practice and patience when assembling a tart in a classic tart pan. Frustration is a natural process that all tart-makers are required to experience at least once. I admit that I have made plenty of mistakes – soggy bottoms, sagging walls, rolling the dough out too thin, holes, overbaking, underbaking…I’ve gone through all the tart trials and tribulations! Luckily, this dough is very forgiving. If there are some holes when you put the dough in the pan, you can simply patch them up with extra dough. And don’t worry about spraying the tart pan – the extra grease actually causes the dough to slide down, causing shrinkage.  Never a good thing…

Again, the best advice I can give to you is to keep the dough chilled.  Do not forget to let the dough rest in the fridge after you have shaped it in the pan!  Give this recipe a try…you can use a variety of liqueurs to change the flavor profile, like framboise liqueur for a raspberry-flavored ganache or amaretto for almond.   

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts



  • 1 batch recipe  Chilled sweet tart dough  
  • 1 lb  60-70% dark chocolate, finely chopped (or use chocolate chips)                             
  • 1 pint   Heavy cream 
  • 1 Tbsp   Grand Marnier (optional)       

Directions for the Tart Shell:

  1. Take out the chilled dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This will soften the dough slightly so it is just soft enough to roll out easily.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it is between 1/8-inch  and 1/4-inch thick. You will need to re-flour your surface and the dough to prevent sticking.  Make sure you leave at least a 1/2-inch border extra dough around the border, using the pan as a guide.  
  3. Lightly fold the dough in half and transfer to an ungreased 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the dough and ease into the pan, patting it firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Pay particular focus to the angle where the bottom meets the sides – make sure the dough is pushed firmly into this location. Trim the edges to form a ½-inch overhang
  4. Fold the overhang back over itself and press it into the sides of the pan, making sure that the dough reaches slightly above the sides of the pan. Check that the dough has an equal thickness around the sides.
  5. Refrigerate this prepared tart dough for at least 45 minutes or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. Line the crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, making sure to leave a small overhang so that it is easy to remove. Cover the foil with small ceramic weights, dried beans, or rice.  
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the aluminum foil with the weights and return the tart to the oven. Bake until the edges turn a very light golden-brown, another 10-15 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.

Directions for the Ganache and Assembly:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
  2. Pour the heavy cream and liqueur (if using) in a small sauce pan. Gently heat until the heavy cream is simmering. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour the heavy cream mixture over the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt.
  4. Mix together until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the melted ganache into the prepared tart shell. Evenly spread.
  6. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 ½ hours until the ganache is completely set.
  7. Serve with freshly whipped cream and orange zest!


Crostata, the lazy-man’s tart shell! This a perfect option for when you want a more rustic, casual approach to your dessert to feed a crowd of comfort-food lovers. The edges are left jagged and unfinished to amplify this dessert’s rustic appeal. Not meant for liquid fillings, a crostata is a perfect option for heartier fruit fillings. You can use pears, plums, peaches, or a variety of fresh berries.

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts



  • 1 batch recipe   Chilled sweet tart dough
  • 3-4   Apples
  • 1 Tbsp   Lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup    Apricots or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup   Cinnamon sugar
  • 3 oz    Butter, cold and cubed
  • 2   Egg whites

Directions – Roll Out the Dough:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Do not use waxed paper – the dough will stick to the sheet.
  2. Take out the chilled dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes. This will soften the dough slightly so it is just soft enough to roll out easily.
  3. Roll out the dough into a 12-inch round about ¼ inch thick. Fold the dough carefully in half and transfer to the prepared baking hseet. Unfold the round; it may overlap the edges of the sheet.

Directions – Prepare the Filling:

  1. While the dough is thawing from the fridge, peel the apples and discard the skin. Cut the apples in half and remove the core and stem. With a knife, cut the apples into thin slices. Preserve the apples in a bowl of cold water and lemon juice to keep from browning while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. In a food processor, place the apricots, butter, and cinnamon sugar. Process for just a few seconds until the apricots are chopped into fine pieces and the butter is mixed throughout.
  3. Leaving a 2-inch border uncovered, spread the apricot mixture in the center of the dough. Lightly dry the apples on a towel and scatter the apples in a pile on top of the apricot mixture.

Directions: Shape and Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix about 1 Tbsp of cold water with the egg whites. Fold the dough border up and slightly over the filling, pleating it loosely around the edge and leaving the center open.   Use the egg wash as glue to help the pleats hold their shape.
  3. Put the crostata in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to re-harden.
  4. When ready, take the crostata out of the fridge and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle the crostata with coarse sugar and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the dough is a light golden brown color. The fruit mixture will be bubbling.
  5. Let cool slightly – serve warm with whipped cream. Or, better yet, ice cream!


Unlike pie crust, which is intentionally left bland, a sweet tart dough can double as a stand-alone cookie.  In my recipe, I shaped the freshly made dough in a log  in order to cut the dough in slices.  You can also roll the dough completely flat and use your desired shaped cookie cutter as another method of shaping the dough into cookie form.  You can roll the dough in coarse sugar or simply bake them plain and cover in melted chocolate.  

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts



  • 1 batch Chilled sweet tart dough
  • 1 cup coarse sugar, like turbinado 


  1. When first making the tart dough, roll out into a small log, shape wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
  2. When ready, preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Directly out of the fridge, cut your log with a knife into ¼-inch thick cookie slices.
  4. Optional: gently roll the cookie slices in coarse sugar.
  5. Place cookie slices an inch apart from one another on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Place in fridge for another 20 minutes.
  6. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. They should still appear light on the top with a slight golden-brown bottom.

How to Make Tart Dough 101 & Recipes | Undiscovered Kitchen Artisan Food & Gifts

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Evona is a passionate foodie, entrepreneur and the founder of Undiscovered Kitchen, a digital farmer’s market for small batch, specialty foods! She loves discovering new foods from around the country and talking to the artisans who make them.

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