How to: how to cook the tart in white

White cooking for pies refers to recipes that do not require further cooking of the filling, such as custard.

What would a filling be without a crumbly and compact shell of dough ready to welcome it? It’s all a question of balance between a filling based on jam, custard , cream or fresh fruit.It is the technique for those fillings that do not require cookingand a base of pastry or crust cooked to perfection. The secret of a perfect tart comes from the meeting of these two elements, where attention in the preparation of the dough and its cooking is essential for an optimal result. And this is where cooking in white (also known as blind cooking ) comes into play , a technique used for all those pies that welcome fillings and fillings that do not need – or at most a few minutes – further cooking. In all these cases the shortcrust pastry or shortcrust pastry base must be cooked without fillingplacing weights on the surface so as not to swell in contact with heat. Here’s where to start, what are the right weights to choose and what are the tricks to follow .

Why cook in white

It might seem a superfluous technique or, at least, excessive for those who delight in the kitchen without particular pretensions. In reality, cooking in white is an absolutely indispensable techniquePricking the base with a fork is not enoughto obtain perfectly cooked shortcrust or shortcrust pastry shells. We were taught to prick the surface of the pasta with the tines of the fork to prevent it from swelling during cooking , but in most cases this method is imprecise and not sufficient. The principle of cooking in white is to pre-bake the base of your cake by placing weights (dried legumes, rice or ceramic balls) on the surface in order to prevent the buttery dough from swelling naturally during cooking. Depending on the type of weight you will use, you can guarantee greater friability or softness to your pasta taste. Once taken out of the oven you will get a perfectly cooked and homogeneous base in thickness, ready to be filled with creams, jams and fresh fruit that do not require further cooking.

What weights to use

In white cooking the only element that will be at your discretion is the choice of the weights to be placed on the surface of your pasta base. There are two alternatives: dried legumes (or rice) or ceramic or porcelain spheres. Regardless of which of the two options you choose, the yield will still be perfect, except for greater softness and compactness if you use the ceramic spheres (smooth and round). The advantage of the latter in fact lies in their high resistance to heat which will not affect the dough in the least with the risk of ruining it.

Different speech for legumes or rice , whose poor thermal conductivity could create very slight hollows especially in particularly buttery doughs. Obviously, consider that legumes will not be edible after their use as the lack of water does not allow cooking, but only heating. You can still let them cool, put them in a plastic bag and reuse them for other cooking until they start to deteriorate. In the case of the spheres, however, once purchased, you can reuse them for much longer without fear of them getting damaged. However, if you have neither dried pulses nor ceramic weights, there are other methodsless rigorous but still effective: try placing a smaller diameter cake pan on the base of your cake or, in extremis, sprinkle some coarse salt .

The basic steps

And now let’s try to sort out the various steps to follow. Prepare your shortcrust pastry base or brisée following the recipe you usually use. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour , then, take it out and start handling itRest of the dough and wet parchment paper are essentialgently on a floured work surface by exerting light pressure with your hands. Roll it out to a thickness of about 3/4 mm – ideal for cooking in white – and gently place your pan on the surface in order to adjust to the exact dimensions. At this point, place it on the bottom of the pan – previously well floured and buttered – remove the excess edges and prick the base of the dough with a fork. Take a sheet of parchment paper, pass it quickly under cold water, squeeze it well and coat the base of the dough so that it adheres perfectly. Place your weights over the entire surface: the greater the quantity of legumes or balls you will put, the lower the risk that the cooking will be uneven.


Do not forget the final goal of cooking in white, that is the filling based on creams or jams that will complete your dessert. For this reason, prefer cake pans that have a removable bottom , a diameter of about 24 cm and edges that are not too high. Preheat the oven to 200 ° and bake the base for about 15/20 minutes until you begin to notice the slightly golden edges. At this point, take it out of the oven, remove the parchment paper with the weights and let it cool for a few minutes. If the surface is still a little soft, you can bake it again for about 10 minutes. On the contrary, if it turns out nice and crunchyjust brush it with a lightly beaten egg yolk and bake it for 2-3 minutes. This last step will be used to create an insulating patina between the base and the filling you are going to add.

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