Category Archives: Tarts

All Butter Flaky Pie Crust

I was in a pie mood.  Do you ever get in that mood?  So what needed to be done was to make a pie crust.  I don’t like using shortening in baking, and avoid it whenever possible, so the recipe that follows is now my tried and true recipe for pie crust that takes about 5 minutes of active work to pull together.  Some people are nervous about making any form of pastry dough, including pie crusts, but this doubt is completely unfounded because it really is such a simple thing to perfect.  I usually make double the amount the recipe specifies, which is enough for either a double crusted pie (think most apple or berry pies) or a single crusted pie(pumpkin, chocolate,etc.) with a crust leftover, stored in the freezer for whenever my next pie craving strikes.  I have a feeling it won’t be too long a respite… I made a fantastic chocolate pudding pie with this crust,  and the remaining pie crust seems destined to be used in a pie recipe that makes me drool everytime I look at it..coming soon!

Basic Pie Dough

Adapted from Annie’s Eats, click the link for some useful tips and tricks on pie crust making (originally from Williams Sonoma)
Yield: 1 9-inch pie crust*
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp (226g). cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. very cold water (I usually put a few pieces of ice in the water to keep it cold, and add this slowly.  When doubling the recipe I found 5 tbsp to be sufficient, you want to stop adding water just when the dough comes together)

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix briefly to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and mix on medium-low speed to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas.  Mix in the cold water on low speed just until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  (This dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)  Remove from the refrigerator.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Use as directed in whatever pie recipe you desire. 

See that marbling and white flecks? Those are the intact butter pieces that will give the crust its flaky texture. This is why we don’t want to overmix!

*Double the recipe for a double crust pie, then divide the ball of dough into two equal sized portions (weighing gives the most accurate results).  Freeze one crust if you will not be using immediately, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

A pie recipe using this pie crust coming very soon!



Filed under Desserts, Pies, Tarts

Apple Tart with Hazelnut Brown Sugar Topping

Hello readers! It’s Mira writing from Amman, Jordan where I live. I am a dentist, and I spend my days fixing teeth, but my passion is making delicious desserts that decay them. Very business savvy wouldn’t you say?

I recently gave birth to my first child, a beautiful baby girl, and so even though I don’t have enough time to be baking just yet, I’m going to share a dessert I made a while ago when I was still pregnant.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

As any pregnant woman knows, the last few weeks of pregnancy drag on forever! People around you begin to take personal offense every time they see you and your still sporting the baby bump. Around 20 times a day you hear, “wow! Your still hanging in there?!”, or ” can’t believe you haven’t given birth yet!”. No really, I already had the baby and decided not to tell you, and this bump? That’s just water weight.

After a few days of this constant nagging, I decided to start thinking of ways to get the birth ball rolling. Someone had told me that cinnamon could induce labour, so I decided to get my dose of cinnamon in the form of apple pie. After I saw this recipe for an Apple Tart with Hazelnut Brown Sugar Topping in my More from Magnolia cookbook I thought, even better! This tart comes together in a snap and tastes fantastic. The chopped hazelnuts on top gave the perfect nutty crunch contrast to the sweet softened apple filling. The filling was a little too simple for me so I added cinnamon and nutmeg to make it more apple pie like. Although the cinnamon tip didn’t work (I hung on past my due date) I still enjoyed every bite.

Recipe (Adapted From More from Magnolia)

Brown Sugar Topping

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts


3 cup thinly sliced tart apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 160C

To make the topping:
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. Using a pasty blender cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the hazelnuts and using your hands toss until all the ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

To make the filling:
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently until fruit is evenly coated. Set aside.

To make the crust:
In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and the egg yolk and mix well. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until
just combined. Gather the dough into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to fit a 10 inch tart pan. Fit the dough into the pan and trim the edge flush with the rim of the pan.

Transfer the fruit filling into the crust and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar topping. Place tart on baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours. Serve at room temperature or warm.



Filed under Apple, Desserts, Tarts