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Rich Cream Cheese Tart Dough

Makes 1 large free-form tart crust or 4 small tart crusts.

The richest and most delicious pastry dough I know. An added bonus -- it's also the easiest.

  • 1?2 cup (4 ounces) chilled cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1?2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 1?2 cup sugar
  • 1?8 teaspoon salt
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the cream cheese, butter, 1 cup flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Process until the dough just comes together. It will be sticky.

3. Sprinkle the parchment paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the sheet and, with floured hands, press the dough into a rough 10-inch circle or four 5-inch circles. Roll about 1?2 inch of the edge of the circle inward to create a lip to catch the juices. Refrigerate the crust for 1 hour or wrap the baking sheet in plastic and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours until you are ready to use it.

Shaped Rich Cream Cheese Tart Dough, wrapped in plastic, may be frozen for up to 2 months and used directly from the freezer.

Excerpted from Mom's Big Book of Baking, by Lauren Chattman. ©2001, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.

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