Crisp, lightly sweet, and buttery, this classic pastry crust is an elegant base on which to build an entire repertoire of tarts. It’s easier to make than flaky pie pastry, too—just stir melted butter with sugar and a bit of salt, then blend in all-purpose flour to form the dough. With your fingers, press it into a tart pan (no rolling necessary!), and let it hang out in the fridge for half an hour before pricking the bottom and baking.
Fill the baked and cooled crust with anything from Easy Chocolate Ganache topped with Easy Whipped Cream, to Lemon Curd and meringue, or Vanilla-Buttermilk Pastry Cream and fresh fruit. Jazz up the tart shell by adding the seeds from a vanilla bean or a tablespoon of citrus zest, or just follow the recipe for our Ricotta and Honey Tart or Chocolate Ganache Tart.
Special equipment: You’ll need a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.