This Ridiculously Easy Easy Press-In Tart Crust is buttery, crisp and perfect for both sweet and savory tarts. Stir it up in less than 5 minutes, no mixer or food processor necessary!
If you absolutely love making homemade crusts for tarts and quiches, this post might not be for you. I'm talking about the kind of crusts that require cutting butter or shortening into flour, chilling and rolling the dough, fitting it carefully into your tart pan, filling the unbaked crust with beans, rice or pie weights then (finally) baking, often twice (with and without the weights). But if you'd like to learn how to make a super delicious, crisp, buttery tart crust that you can stir up in less than 5 minutes with no chilling or rolling involved, this Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust has your name written all over it! It definitely has mine!
A rose by any other name
I had a hard time deciding on a name for this recipe. Why? Well, in addition to being a Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust recipe, I wanted to include the word "French" because I actually perfected this recipe while we were in France this summer.
I also wanted to incorporate "French" in the title because there are so many French tarts that I'll be making and sharing with this easy crust recipe.
Lastly, I served a tart with this crust to a French friend in France, who ran a cooking school in Paris for many years and she raved about it. That makes it "French" approved!
Another descriptive word I wanted to slip in was "shortbread" as the simple ingredient list for this recipe is the same as classic shortbread; butter, flour, sugar and salt. It also produces crisp, buttery, shortbread-y results for both sweet and savory tart crusts.
I invited a friend for lunch this week and served a Ratatouille/Goat Cheese Tart (recipe coming!) with this recipe as the crust. She said to make sure that I included something in the name that would explain how the crust didn't require any fancy culinary skill, although "it looks like it came from a fancy bakery".
You might laugh, at one point I actually thought of calling it The Lazy Person's Shortbread Tart Crust because I'm definitely a little lazy when it comes to cooking (but only if the results are spectacular), hence all the Ridiculously Easy recipes in our arsenal.
As you can see, in the end, I settled with Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust (for Sweet or Savory Tarts). Hopefully, that will relay how easy and versatile this recipe is!
Oh, and speaking of easy, you may have noted that we call this recipe Ridiculously Easy. It is super easy but we also call it that because we have a large category of recipes called Ridiculously Easy. You can read more about this collection of recipes here and can find all of them here but, in a nutshell, my definition is "the recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part".
A picture's worth a thousand words
I realize that you might not believe that such a fancy-looking tart could be easy so we shot a few pics to show you the simple process:
Stir the dough together in less than 5 minutes then press it into the pan. No mixers, no food processors, no chilling, no rolling, no fuss! A
lazy smart cook's dream come true!
Press the dough into the pan
Okay, so once the dough is mixed, how do you press it into the pan? There are a few easy little tricks so we took some pics of that, too! You'll need a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (see the link below under Café Tips). These pans are reasonably priced and super versatile as you can make zillions of variations of beautiful, delicious tarts and quiches.
Pressing the dough in the pan is easy and quick. Here's how I do it:
When your dough is all pressed into the pan, it will look like this:
The crust will be a little uneven but a quick smoothing with the bottom of a measuring cup or flat bottom glass will take out all the lumps and bumps:
All that's left is to prick the crust with a fork (this will keep it nice and flat in the oven) then pop the whole thing in the oven for 15-25 minutes, no beans or pie weights needed! (The timing will depend on whether you use a filling that needs further baking or a no-bake filling.)
I love that this crust can work for both sweet and savory tarts - we've got recipes for both, coming up!
Pictured above is one of our favorite savory variations for summer, a fabulous Tomato Ricotta Tart that we'll be featuring later this week and below, another coming-up-soon recipe, a delicious French Almond Plum Tart. Truly, the sky's the limit as far as different options for filling these crusts!
And what does this Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust taste like? Everyone who tries it says, "DELICIOUS!" and I think you'll agree. The crust for sweet tarts is just mildly sweet with lots of buttery flavor and a lovely crisp texture. The savory crust retains the buttery crispness but is a slight bit saltier and cuts back to just a teaspoon of sugar (just enough to round out the flavor).
I hope I've convinced you to try out this recipe. I know it will be a staple for me and my head is swimming with delicious tarts and quiche ideas for the days ahead. Bon Appétit!
Café Tips for making this Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust
- The recipes for the sweet and savory crusts are slightly different. Both renditions are included below in the recipe card.
- This recipe works best if you stir up the dough and pat it into the pan while the butter is still warm. If you wait and let the butter cool, the dough can dry out.
- You may have a bit more dough than you need, depending on how thick you make the bottom crust of the tart.
- You will need a 9, 10 or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom for this Ridiculously Easy Press-In Tart Crust recipe. These pans are reasonably priced and are wonderful for tarts, pies and quiches. (If you use an 11-inch pan, the crust will be a little thinner.
- It's important to spray your tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and also line it with a round of parchment paper to make it super easy to remove the tart from the pan. You don't want to make this beautiful tart crust and have it stick to the pan. You can cut your own or purchase these precut parchment paper rounds which are super convenient.
- I like to bake my tarts on a sheet pan lined with foil or a sheet of parchment paper. Since the pan has a removable bottom a bit of butter will sometimes leak out. The pan prevents a mess in the oven. Even the tiniest bit of butter on the floor of a hot oven can cause smoke and burning.
- I use my microwave to melt the butter for this recipe. It's important to use a microwave-safe bowl, which means that it's made of a material that won't heat up, melt or transmit harmful chemicals when used in the microwave. You should see a symbol like this on the bottom of a microwave-safe bowl or plate:
- One other trick for the microwave. If you cover the bowl with a slightly damp paper towel (I just run my hands under running water) and place it over the top of the bowl it will prevent spatters in the microwave and the moisture will keep the paper towel from blowing off.
- I really love these large pyrex bowls with a handle. They're perfect for the microwave and so much more!
Thought for the day:
Those who wait on the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will SOAR on wings like eagles,
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon water if needed
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon water if dough is too dry
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9, 10, or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom generously with non-stick baking spray. Line the pan with a round of parchment paper. Set aside.
Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper (for easily clean-up). Set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, and salt) in a medium-large size bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the center and set aside.
Place the butter in a microwave-safe, medium-size bowl. Cook on high power for 1 minute or until melted. (if you don’t have a microwave you can melt the butter on the stovetop in a small saucepan.)
Pour the butter into the well, making sure to scrape the bowl to include all of the butter. Stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together and/or forms large crumbles. If the dough seems dry, you can add a bit of water.
While the dough is still warm crumble two thirds of it around the edges of the prepared tart pan. Press it evenly around the sides and out onto the outer edges of the bottom of the pan.The sides should be a little thicker than the bottom for structural support.
Crumble the remaining dough into the open space in the pan. Press it in firmly with your fingers and the palm of your hand until the tart pan is completely lined with dough. If the dough seems sticky, you can dust your fingers with a small amount of flour.
Use a straight-sided, round measuring cup or a flat bottom glass to smooth out the edges and further compact the dough in the bottom of the pan. Dip the cup or glass in flour if there is any problem with stickiness.
Prick the dough all over the bottom with a fork to prevent puffing.
Place the tart pan on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the sheet pan (and tart pan) from the oven. Using the same measuring cup or flat bottom glass, gently press the edges again (if they have shrunk down a bit, you can press them back to be even with the top of the pan) and smooth out the bottom if there are any bumpy places. Return to the oven and bake until the crust is pale golden brown, another 5-7 minutes. If using a no-bake filling for your tart, return to the oven and bake until it's a medium golden brown, about 12-17 minutes longer. Set aside to cool completely before filling.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
If you use an 11-inch tart pan, the side and bottom crusts will be a bit thinner.