There are a million uses for Small Pastry Cases. They can be part or fully baked ready for sweet or savoury fillings. Using my buttery American style rough puff pie crust, these cases are delicate yet robust and beautifully flaky.
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I’ve always been a fan of making my own pastry wherever possible. There is nothing wrong with store bought pastry but once you taste homemade, it is difficult to go back. The taste is just next level. And it generally really isn’t nearly as difficult as you assume.
I’ve written the recipe and instructions for making these individual tartlet cases with my American style pie crust pastry. It is essentially a rough puff pastry. But the technique can just as easily be applied with any other pastry – including store bought.
Some homemade pastry options include:
- Pâte Sucrée – a sweet traditional short pastry – see Tarte au Citron for the recipe.
- Shortcrust – a short savoury pastry – see Quiche Lorraine for the recipe. Omit the thyme in the recipe for a plain version.
- Puff Pastry – a rich and buttery properly laminated traditional puff pastry – see Puff Pastry for the recipe.
If you are looking to make a large or family sized pastry case or pie crust, check out my Blind Baked American Pie Crust post.
What is Blind Baking?
Cooking a pastry case without the filling is called blind baking. There are two options available.
The first is to part bake the pastry then add a filling and finish baking it. This is the technique used in my Lemon Tart.
If the filling was put straight in the raw pastry case, the pastry would be undercooked or the filling would be overcooked depending on which evil you chose. So part baking ensures that both the pastry and filling are cooked perfectly at the same time.
The second is to fully bake the pastry case and then fill it with a filling that isn’t going to be cooked. Adding something like Peach Curd and a little whipped cream to make peach curd tarts is ideal for a quick and easy dessert.
Filling with whipped cream or a creme patisserie and topping with fresh fruit is another classic dessert idea.
The reason that curd tarts and other unbaked fillings can be so quick is that these tart crusts are brilliant to make in advance and keep on hand.
They can be frozen (make sure to separate them with pieces of parchment or greaseproof paper) in a rigid container. Simply leave to defrost at room temperature before using.
I wouldn’t risk throwing them in the freezer without the protection of a container. Whilst they aren’t going to crumble on touch, they could easily get damaged in a full freezer.
They also keep at room temperature in an airtight container for a couple of weeks without issue.
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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Small Pastry Cases with Flaky Rough Puff
- 500 g American Pie Pastry – Rough Puff - fridge cold
- 1 Egg - white only
- ⅛ tsp Fine Salt
- Vegetable Spray Oil - optional
- Flour for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 200°c fan | 220°c | 390°f.
- Roll 500g American Pie Pastry out into a rough rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut the pastry into 8 pieces. Put all but one of the pieces back into the fridge.
- Dust a surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll one piece of dough out to around 3mm/⅛” thick. Use one of the tart tins to make sure that it is big enough to comfortably fit the tin and sides. Use spray oil to lightly coat the tins if you wish.
- Gently ease the piece of dough into the tin. Lift the sides on the dough into the centre rather than stretching the dough thinner to make it fit. Use the edge of your finger to make sure the dough is comfortably fitting into the corner of the tin.
- Roll over the top of the tin with the rolling pin to cut off the excess pastry. Keep all the scraps in the fridge ready to reroll.
- Hold the tin in one hand and use your index finger on the other to press the sides of the pastry into the corner further and into the flutes of the tin. The pasty should squish up a little to be raised above the edge of the tin. This is will help counteract any shrinkage.
- Put the tin into the fridge (or freezer), take the next piece of dough and repeat until all the tins are filled. Like me you might need to work in batches. You will need to use your dough scraps for the last few tins. It is a good idea to quickly create some new layers in the pastry by cutting, stacking and rolling a couple of times. Just make sure to keep the dough super cold.
- Once all of the tins are lined with pastry, remove from the fridge and place on a baking tray. This will make them much easier to take out and put into the oven.
- Add a paper muffin case into each pastry case. Use your fingers to flatten out the ridges so it fits the pastry right to the edges.
- Fill each case as full as it will go with baking beans.
- Bake the pastry cases for 14 minutes.
- Meanwhile separate the egg white from 1 Egg. Add a tiny pinch (⅛ tsp) Salt and mix in.
- Remove the tart cases from the oven. Very carefully remove the muffin cases and baking beans. You might find it safest to use a spoon to remove the beads into a heatproof container then the muffin cases.
- Use a brush to paint the base and sides of the pastry with a very thin layer of egg white. This will help to seal the pastry.*Stop here if making a recipe with a baked filling*
- Bake for a further 8 minutes until light golden brown.
- Allow to cool in the tins then carefully remove from the tins. If the pastry has puffed up in the middle and you prefer more filling over a flaky base, use the back of a spoon to push down any risen pastry when it comes out the oven.