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How to make tart crust for 6 tartlets

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This is a basic sweet tart dough recipe, adapted from the cover for the tartlet molds I purchased at Williams-Sonoma. It makes a great flaky sweet crust for 6 small tartlets, which are 3 inches diameter each. It’s a great way to make individual fruit desserts or small savory appetizers. This recipe will also work for one 9.5 inch diameter tart pan.

How to make tart crust dough pie from scratch: sweet and flaky

Basic sweet tart crust recipe

Makes 6 small tarts, 3 inches diameter each
Makes 1 large tart, 9.5 inches diameter


Prep time: 40 min
Bake time: 40 min


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare tart dough:

1)  Using food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt to combine thoroughly.

2)  Cut cold butter into small cubes. Add the butter into the food processor and pulse butter, flour, sugar and salt until the consistency becomes that of a coarse meal.
How to make sweet tart crust dough recipe
How to make sweet tart crust dough recipe

3)  In a small cup, combine the egg yolk, ice water and vanilla and stir well together. Add the egg mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
How to make sweet tart crust dough recipe

How to cook tart dough after it’s been refrigerated for 2 hours:

1) Preheat an oven to 350 F.

2)  Divide the dough into 6 parts and roll each into a ball.
How to make sweet tart crust dough recipe

3)  Grease each tartlet well. Flour the working surface, and roll each ball into a disk larger in a diameter than a well of your tart pan, then place the round into a greased well. Because rolling each ball into a disk and placing it into a well usually takes time, I keep the rest of the balls in the refrigerator and take each one out to work on one ball at a time.  This way, the dough is kept cold, which will help the crust be soft and flaky.  Also, after I shape 2 disks and place them into a tart pan, I put a tart pan in the freezer and shape the other 2 disks. Then, I take the tart pan out of the freezer, place the 2 disks in and repeat. Once you filled all of the tart pans (or all wells in a tart pan), place the tart pan(s) in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking.
How to make sweet tart crust dough recipe

4)  Prick the bottom of each tart with a fork 2 or 3 times. Bake the shells for 25 minutes until golden brown, not dark. Rotate the tart pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time.

5)  Remove the tartlets  from the oven and let them cool completely.



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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Suzanne perazzini September 6, 2012, 2:01 am

    This a great tutorial. I usually use store-bought pastry to save time when cooking in the evenings and I love making small tarts and have similar tartlet molds to yours.

    • Julia September 9, 2012, 12:15 am

      Thank you! I have quite a few tart molds, too. Can’t wait to use them on all sorts of recipes.

  • Eva @ 1 big bite September 6, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I agree with Suzanne, this is very helpful and a great step-by-step tutorial.

    • Julia September 9, 2012, 12:14 am

      Thank you, Eva.

  • Russell at Chasing Delicious September 6, 2012, 3:39 pm

    Yum! Now I’m craving tartlets!

  • anna September 6, 2012, 10:07 pm

    cool! i am embarking on a plum tart this weekend!

    • Julia September 9, 2012, 12:16 am

      I actually made some plum tarts recently – will be posting a recipe with photos soon.

  • Kayley August 13, 2014, 3:22 pm

    Would you adjust the recipe for 6 4 inch tartlets or do you think this would suffice? So hard to find recipes for the smaller pans!

    • Julia August 19, 2014, 2:41 pm

      Kayley, because this recipe is for 6 3-inch tartlets, it will probably not suffice for the same number of 4-inch tartlets, so you will probably have to make 4 or 5 4-inch tartlets with this recipe.

  • Christie January 21, 2017, 4:13 pm

    How long will the crust keep? And how do you store them if you want to make them for later usage?

    • Julia January 31, 2017, 1:58 am

      Cooked crust still tastes great after a week, if kept refrigerated. I wouldn’t keep cooked crust refrigerated for more than a week. If you freeze cooked crust, you can keep it for a month.

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