This is taken from ST (12 June 2011). I thought it’s a good question and the answer definitely worth taking note.
Q I’m a little confused by tart shell recipes. Some press the dough into tart moulds, then pour in the filling to bake. But most tell you to bake the shells till light golden brown, cool them, then add the filling to bake again. Is there any difference? Especially with regard to the texture?
A As always with baking techniques, baking phases for tart shells are not arbitrary, but depend on the relative times needed for pastry and filling to cook through.
They are baked blind (that is, empty, but weighted down to prevent puffing) until fully browned and cooked, if their filling requires very brief or no cooking. These include lemon meringue pie, key lime pie and ice cream pies.
Shells are baked blind until partly done if their subsequent filling needs more prolonged cooking, during which the shells also reach doneness: for example, quiches, custard tart, bakewell tart, some kinds of fruit tarts and pecan pie.
Recipes sometimes instruct you to ‘waterproof’ the crust with brushed-on egg white before par-baking to make a barrier against moist fillings, preventing sogginess.
Some recipes based on shortcrust or flaky pastry begin with both raw pastry and filling, which cross the finish line together – such as free-form galettes, American-style fruit pies.
As long as cooking time and oven temperature are harmonised and controlled, there should be no major differences in texture between tart shells that have been baked with different phases.
Do note, however, that pastry shells will start absorbing moisture from wet fillings or humid air within a few hours of baking.
And one day, I hope to be able to come up with my own design of a cake. One day.
And some questions that popped up recently:
1) What makes a good wife? Answers vary from persons to persons, I believe (duh, of course).
2) Do I really need a 5-room flat? Would I consider a 4-room? Need to think deeper.
3) Running half marathon in October? This question doesn’t really need much thought. =p
4) Do you think we are more patient when we are over here? I think so…