In the beginning, I was pretty intimidated by tarts. The method seemed fussy, a little scientific—it took me a minute to process the difference between a prebaked and par-baked tart shell—not to mention time-consuming. But practice makes perfect, and now I feel I have it down.
There are recipes that tell you to be very careful with the butter, not to add too much water, and to let the dough barely come together. Well, I tried that a few times—nervously dancing around the bowl, handling it like a newborn baby—but then, because no dough was forming at all, dumping the whole thing in trash, screaming profanities. So, don’t be afraid of the dough like I was. It’s just about incorporating butter into flour and then adding water to make it all stick together. (If you bake often, invest in a food processor, please; it will improve your life by 87 percent, I promise!)
The dough gets to rest two times—once after you make it, and once after your roll it out—which helps make the tart tender and flaky. And the tart shell is par-baked—literally baking solo for 20 minutes before the filling is added—to develop a nicely crisp crust. So yes, there is some idle time when making this recipe, but you can work on the fillings or take power naps. —verygoodcook