It's a lot like riding The Spider at a local carnival.
This is a toy. The real thing looks much scarier and doesn't have a marching band in front.
As a kid, I was all gung ho about those pack-and-play amusement rides. At 7 years old, "what if"s are the last thing on your mind when you're surrounded by all sorts of colorful, flying, cotton candied stimuli. For nostalgia's sake, I decided to ride the Spider at the 4-H Fair last summer and, I'm not exaggerating, it was absolutely terrifying. I had this bizarre, clown-like grin frozen on my face for the duration of the ride, a futile attempt to convince myself that I was having fun. In reality, my mind was going through every terrible, apocalyptic scenario imaginable until it eventually settled on the fact that the guys who pieced together this death machine probably didn't tighten the S-bolts or whatever they're called and the little round car that Berry White and I were riding in would be hurtled into neighboring Reston.
That's what tart crusts are like.
This recipe is from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It's a simple recipe and makes for a pleasantly sweet, sugar cookie-like crust.
Recipe by Ina Garten
Makes one 10-inch round tart
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the butter and sugar just until combined. Add the vanilla and mix again.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt and add to the butter-sugar mixture.
Mix on low speed until all of the ingredients are combined. The dough will be crumbly, like this:
At this point, you can pour the mixture into the tart pan or pour it out onto a work surface and slowly add it to the tart pan, a handful at a time. Start pressing the dough into the bottom of the pan and work your way up the sides.
And this is where the OCD kicks in.
No joke, I must have worked my fingers around the pan at least 10-15 times, trying to make every single fluted edge uniform. If I pushed down just a little too much in one area, I had to make sure the others were pushed down evenly as well. You know what happens when you cut your own bangs, right?
Once the tart crust has been formed to your liking (45 minutes later in my case), chill it until firm.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place a piece of buttered aluminum foil on the crust, buttered side down. Fill it with dried beans or rice to weigh it down.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and beans/rice, prick the crust all over with a fork then bake for another 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
(I forgot to set the timer so my crust is wee bit browner than I like. Oops.)
Let the crust cool before filling.
Oh right! We need to fill this shell with some sort of deliciousness. More on that tomorrow.Tweet