A tart is like a pie for lazy people. A tart only has one crust (bottom), while pies sometimes have two (bottom and top). A tart crust is much easier to make than a pie crust, and the fillings are also often easier to make. And, tarts generally look beautiful with minimal effort, given the ridged crust and fruit topping. But, despite the fact that it’s actually much easier, baking a tart seems to impress people more than baking a pie. Why? Because tarts seem vaguely French? Because homemade tarts are less common than homemade pies? I don’t know, but regardless I’m all aboard the tart train, and I suggest you hop on too.
What is it? A tart pan is a round metal pan with fluted edges. Tart pans come in a few different sizes, with 9.5-10″ seeming to be the most common. Unlike a pie pan, which has gently sloping sides, the sides of a tart pan are nearly vertical. Tart pans are much shallower than pie pans, so be careful to choose recipes designed for the right pan type. Tart pans also commonly have removable bottoms, making it easy to lift out the tart and present it.
What can it do? A tart pan can make … tarts:
- Fresh fruit tart (e.g. strawberry! blueberry! raspberry! blackberry!)
- Chocolate tart
- Lemon tart
The first time I made a fruit tart I used this recipe from Paula Deen, complete with a glaze made from limeade concentrate. It was pretty darn good and incredibly easy.
What could I use instead? A pie pan. If you’re using a pie pan, try to find recipes that are designed for a deeper dish. Otherwise, your tart will look kind of sad and small in the pie pan. Also, note that pie pans typically don’t have a removable bottom or fluted edges, so your end product won’t look quite as fancy.
Do I need it? No. On a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is must-have, I rate the tart pan a 4 – it’s a fun extra. However, if you’re interested in upping your baking game, I highly recommend learning how to make tarts! It’s a great effort-to-results ratio. This one took me about 20 minutes active time to make:
How much does it cost? $. You can get a top-of-the-line tart pan for ~$20, and some good quality options are available for ~$15 on Amazon. A tart pan made out of non-stick steel will release the tart easily, no need for greasing beforehand.
How much space does it take up? Not much at all! You can toss it in with your other baking supplies.
What else should I know? The removable bottom of the tart pan can actually be annoying when you’re NOT trying to remove the bottom. Try using a cookie sheet to carry around the tart pan before you’re ready to remove the bottom.
BONUS TOOL!: What’s a berry colander? It’s a small colander that’s just the right size for washing a pint of berries without crushing them. It’s easier to clean when you’re just looking to wash a few berries or tomatoes. Plus, it’s just so darn cute!!! We actually use this all the time since we are berry fiends. Definitely a fun nice-to-have.
Readers, when was the last time you had a tart?