Vanilla and almond is a good combination in just about any dessert, so it should come as no surprise that a tart crust that combines those two flavors is a terrific basic tart crust recipe. This buttery Vanilla Almond Tart Crust has ground almonds and vanilla extract in it, and bakes up into a crisp and tender crust that can be used for all kinds of desserts. The recipe makes plenty of dough for a 9 or 10 inch tart pan, and can also be used for a number of smaller tarts, and it works well with both baked and unbaked tart fillings. It goes particularly well with chocolate fillings and fruit fillings, and I often use it as a base for my Strawberries and Cream Cheese Tart.
This tart dough comes together easily and is much less fussy than a pie crust can be. The dough has ground almonds in it and uses cake flour, which has less gluten in it than all purpose flour, to help produce a more tender crust. The cake flour should be measured by spooning it into your measuring cup, then sifting it into the rest of the tart ingredients. Cake flour can be clumpy if it is not sifted, but for this recipe it is not necessary to sift it before measuring it out.
This tart dough is very sticky, so it is important that you chill it well before using it. That stickiness also means that the dough will be crisp and tender after baking, not tough. I usually stick the dough into a gallon-sized plastic bag, press it into a flat layer and chill it thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer (freezer is best if you need to chill your dough quickly). I then roll it out on a lightly floured surface and am ready to line my tart pans!
Vanilla Almond Tart Dough
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond flour/meal (ground almonds)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups cake flour
In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, almond meal and salt.
Sift cake flour into a medium bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend the cake flour into the rest of the ingredients until everything is well-combined.
Gather dough into a ball with a large spatula or bowl scraper and place in a gallon-sized ziplock back (or between two sheets of parchment paper) and press firmly into a thin, flat disc.
Chill in the freezer for 30 min or refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Once dough has chilled, take it out of the bag and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick, then cut to fit the size of your tart pan (will make enough for a 10-inch tart or multiple smaller tarts).
Press dough firmly into the pan, stretching it as little as possible, making sure to get it into the corners of the pan. This dough can be patched with scraps if it tears. Cut off excess dough.
Chill tart pan for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.
To bake: Preheat oven to 350F.
Place tart pans on a baking sheet
For a 10-inch tart: Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until light golden.
For 3 to 5-inch tarts: Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
Allow to cool completely before filling.
Makes 1 10-inch tart pan; four 5-inch tarts.