Used by so many French pastry chefs for so many French tarts, this is the dough that I turn to automatically when I've got a tart on my mind. Know as pâte sablée, it's really a sweet cookie dough, the one you'd use to make a tender sablé or shortbread cookie.
I always prebake the crust even if it's going to get another long bake with the filling, because I like the resulting color, flavor, and texture—and the fact that the bottom won't be soggy.
I used a fluted tart pan with a removable base. If all you've got is a pie plate, don't let that stop you.
A word on rolling versus pressing: You can roll the crust out and fit it into the tart pan or just press it in. I roll the dough. Rolling gives you a thinner crust than pressing, so if you press, you might occasionally find yourself with a little filling left over.
Storing: Well wrapped, the dough can be kept for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, I prefer to freeze the crust fitted into the pan but not baked and then bake it directly from the freezer—it will have a fresher flavor, just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.
Reprinted from Baking Chez Moi (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2014). —Dorie Greenspan