Step 1: Prepare tart pastry
Follow the directions specific to your recipe. Most tarts, however, follow these steps:
-- Cut cold butter into all-purpose flour until pieces are the size of small peas.
-- In a separate bowl, combine beaten egg yolk and ice water.
-- Gradually stir the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture.
-- Add 2 to 4 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the dough is moistened.
-- Shape dough into a ball.
-- If necessary, cover dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Step 2: Roll dough and transfer to tart pan
On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry dough into a circle about 2 inches larger than the diameter of the pan.
Move the pastry dough to the tart pan. To aid in transferring the pastry to the pan, you can wrap the pastry around a rolling pin, center it over the pan, then unwrap the pastry. Gently fit the pastry into the side to line the pan. The trick is to place the pastry in the tart pan without stretching it so the thickness will be even.
Step 5: Prick pastry with fork, if needed
If the tart shell is to be baked without a filling, prick the sides and the bottom of the pastry generously with a fork to prevent it from shrinking. Bake according to recipe directions.
If it is to be baked with the filling, pour the filling in the tart shell now and follow the baking instructions for the recipe.
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