I live in Singapore. It is known for its temperamental weather and humid climate, thus making it pretty horrible for making tart shells. I do not have an air-conditioned kitchen which is very difficult for me to keep the butter cold and solid. I often have to work very quickly between removing the cubed butter from the freezer to crumbling it with the flour. In between crumbling, I frequently notice that the butter would start to soften really fast and creating a dough without the use of water. This resulted in a very crumbly crust, the type that falls apart when you handle them roughly!
My personal preference for a tart shell gravity towards a crumbly yet firm shell. Thus I find it very difficult to achieve that. I previously worked with a recipe which called for water and egg yolks after crumbling the butter with the flour. By the time I included all the butter, the dough came together. It was getting a little sticky so I stopped crumbling and into the fridge it went. I was a little skeptical with the structure of the dough as there was no addition of any liquid.
When I took the dough out of the fridge after an hour, it held up okay. The mess began when I started rolling them out, IT DID NOT STAYED TOGETHER. It was crumbly, and when it was exposed to the humidity it began to stick to the tabletop and the rolling pin. It needed a lot of dusting flour. I pushed through with the dough as I had limited time to produce tarts.
Getting the dough onto the pans were a hassle and it took way more effort. I dusted and dusted the dough for the entire time I was lining it on the pan. I was making silent prayers that the shells would bake fine and taste good. After many tedious attempts to line the dough, I popped it into the oven, baking them with baking beads as I was going to make lemon meringue tarts.
The tarts baked perfectly and the cooling process went smoothly till… The moment I removed the shells from the pan. (Mind you I heavily greased my pans with oil.) A handful were destroyed as I had difficulty removing them. I lost a few of them and it was not a good feeling as I am only left with a few extras, in the case of destruction.
This is the point I could not figure out whether it is due to the lack of liquid or too much dusting flour. I blamed it on the humid weather however I could not change that, thus I guess in the future I would just have to use another recipe.
Overall, the tarts came out fine. Consumers were happy with it, I was happy with the taste of it, not so much on the creation of it. I am still here trying to figure it out…
Hope you like my recount of this everlong reflection on the arts of making tart shells. If you have trouble or a solution for this issue, please share it with me. I would love to explore the alternative of it.
It was a grand pleasure to write again after a long time. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I writing it.
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