There are few better ways to celebrate the bounty of summer fruit than to bake them into a delicious tart. Sure, the first, second, and perhaps even third nectarine may seem magical, but after a while, you probably find yourself looking for other ways to enjoy ripe, juicy fruit other than eating it plain.
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May we suggest dessert? There's something for everyone here; after all, what's not to like about a beautifully arranged Apricot-Almond Tart? Or, if fresh and fruity isn't quite your speed, then perhaps this Classic Dark Chocolate Tart is more to your liking. And, if instead of baking one big tart and slicing it up, you'd rather make a whole bunch of tiny little tarts, we have you covered, too; for example, try these Individual S'more Tarts, which will take you straight back to those fond campfire childhood memories.
To ensure success at every step, we've asked Francois Payard, a famed French pastry chef who has worked at some of the best-known Michelin three-star restaurants in Paris, for advice on how to make a better tart. Here are some things to keep in mind:
When making dough for a tart shell, make sure to use cold butter.
Avoid over-mixing the dough; the more you stretch the dough, the more you stretch the gluten strands, which causes the dough to shrink away from the sides of the tart pan when baked. So, the less you stretch the dough, the better the tart shell.
When rolling out the dough, make sure to perform quarter turns at regular intervals until it is rolled out to the desired thickness. This way, the dough will have the same thickness throughout. At the same time, this helps the dough stretch in every direction and prevents it from shrinking when baked. (It's a lot like when you're rolling out pizza dough, when you keep turning the dough around in a circle as you stretch it.)
We hope you find these tips as helpful as we did. Bon appétit!