A few summers ago I was totally into free form tarts. I don’t know why I stopped making them because they’re so incredibly easy. I’ll never be one to discourage you from making a homemade pie. Free form tarts, though, are a great starting point if you’re intimidated by making pies (which you really shouldn’t be anyway because life is too short to let courage stand between you and a great pie).
This is the master recipe I use for my free form tart pastry. It’s a sweet, buttery pastry crust. A food processor is helpful in pulling it together, but I’ve made it without, too. In that case, you’d rub the flour mixture and butter together very quickly with your fingertips. A fork works best to quickly stir in the water, and transform the mixture together into a rough dough.
This sweet butter pastry crust doesn’t need a long chill—basically just as long as it takes to pull your filling ingredients together. If you decide to make it in advance, and it’s been in the fridge for more than 30 minutes, you’ll want to let it sit on the counter until you can easily make an indentation with your finger. Cold dough is not fun to roll out, and will tear and crack if you try.
Sweet Butter Pastry Crust
- 1 ½ cups (225 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
- Few pinches of sea salt
- 1 stick very cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice cold water
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add the butter, and pulse a few more times until it resembles a sandy-looking mixture.
- Add the water. Pulse 20 to 30 seconds until it forms a rough ball of dough.
- Transfer to the dough to a sheet of waxed paper. Wrap loosely, and chill for 10 minutes before rolling out. May be refrigerated for up to 2 days.