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Tart Dough

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour, or ⅔ cup white plus ⅓ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  2. 1 Tbsp. organic sugar
  3. ¼ tsp. sea salt
  4. 1 tsp. grated orange, lemon, or tangerine zest, when called for
  5. 8 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
  6. 1 Tbsp. cold water mixed with ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and/or ¼ teaspoon almond extract


  1. Put the flour, sugar, sea salt, and zest, if using, in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it has broken up into pieces the size of baby peas. Drizzle in the water-vanilla mixture and pulse just until large, moist-looking clumps of dough form.
  2. Gather the dough into a mass. It should stick together. If there is any dry flour left in the bowl, add a few more drops of water to bring it together, then add it to the rest of the dough. Shape the dough into a disk about an inch thick and refrigerate. If rolling the dough, refrigerate for about 30 minutes; otherwise, go to the next step.
  3. Put the dough in the center of your pan and start pressing it out using the heel of your palm. When you get to the edge, begin building the dough up the sides of the pan. The walls should be about ¼ inch thick. It will probably take some going over the dough to get it evenly distributed, but it won’t toughen. Remove the dough that rises over the rim with your fingers and use it to patch another part of the tart that looks thin. Use a finger to make a slightly shallow impression at the base of the rim, so that when the dough slides downwards during baking, it won’t be too thick. Put the tart in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to bake.