A press-in cookie crust is one of the easiest, quickest pie or tart crusts to make: you don’t have to worry about dough coming together or staying tender, so it’s perfect if you’re a beginner baker or just need a fast dessert. In this episode, you’ll learn to make a stylish Ricotta-Lime Tart in a Gingersnap Crust that’s shockingly quick and easy to make.
|Creamy Lime Ricotta Tart in a Gingersnap Crust||Chocolate-Glazed Peanut Butter Tart||Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart||Chocolate Truffle Tart with Whipped Vanilla Mascarpone Topping|
Make the Crust
You’ve probably made a graham-cracker crust before, and that’s basically what we’re doing here, but you can use just about any kind of crisp cookie to make a crumb crust–vanilla and chocolate wafers, gingersnaps, and Abby particularly loves Moravian cookies, which come in all kinds of fun flavors like lemon or chocolate-orange.
A food processor is the quickest way to pulverize your cookies into crumbs. Just crumble them into the bowl, and pulse until they’re finely ground. You’ll need 1 cup of crumbs for a 9-1/2 inch tart crust.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also crush the cookies by hand: just put them in a bag and give them a good firm roll with a rolling pin.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and cookie crumbs, then drizzle in 3 Tbs. melted butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are all evenly moistened by the butter.
Now turn out the crumbs into your tart pan–you definitely want one with a removable bottom for these tarts. The only real trick of these tart crusts is pressing the crumbs into an even layer all over the bottom and sides. Abby likes to lay down a sheet of plastic wrap over the crumbs and use her hands to press-that way she can make sure it’s all even and she doesn’t get crumbs sticking to my hands.
A straight-sided measuring cup is also good for making sure you get the crumbs into every little flute of the sides. You want the side walls just a little bit less than 1/4 inch thick. And then use that cup just to make sure everything is compacted in there–if it’s loose, it won’t adhere together as it bakes.
Bake and Fill the Crust
Bake the crust unfilled at 350° F until it smells nutty and fragrant–if you’re using a lighter-colored cookie, like vanilla wafers, the crust will turn a nice golden brown. And then it’s ready to fill.
When the tart is finished and cooled, just remove the outer ring–its easy if you place it over something smaller like a can of tomatoes, and then it’s ready to slice and serve.
Stylish Tarts from a Quick Crust
Abigail Johnson Dodge is a contributing editor at Fine Cooking, and teaches cooking classes around the country. She studied at La Varenne in Paris, and worked with Michel Guerard and Guy Savoy, specializing in pastry. She has written six cookbooks, four of them about baking, including The Weekend Baker, winner of the IACP award. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
|Episode 1: Press-in Cookie Crust Tarts
||Episode 2: Equipment Essentials for Pies||Episode 3: All About Pie Dough|
|Episode 4: Rustic Fruit Galettes||Episode 5: Double-Crust Apple Pie||Episode 6: Single-Crust Pecan and Pumpkin Pies|
|Episode 7: Pâte Sucrée and Lemon Tart||Episode 8: Lattice-Topped Mixed Berry Pie||Episode 9: Rough Puff Pastry Tarts|
|Episode 10: Classic Fresh Fruit Tart|