Elisa's Tart with Shortbread Crust

This is my go-to crust for all savory tarts as it is delicious, easy and is a perfect base to transform end of the week bits of cheeses, vegetables or meats into an elegant dish. I double this recipe when I am making a savory tart for a crowd and have used this crust for all sizes of pans and numbers of eaters including just me.  Just pay attention to the proportion of flour to butter, salt and sugar and you will be fine. 


  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter, cut in small cubes
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Water if needed
  • Pie or tart tin (I prefer the ones with a removable bottom) 


  • Add all ingredients except the water to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Combine using a pastry blender or your fingers until the texture of rough sand.
  • Dribble cold water, if needed,  until mixture barely holds together.
  • Take two generous pieces of plastic wrap, crossing one over the other.
  • Carefully pour the dough mixture over the center of the plastic wrap.
  • Pull up the plastic, while consolidating the dough. Create a at disc about 1-1⁄2 inches thick and 6 inches across.  (This will be larger if you have doubled the recipe).
  • Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to use, butter your pan (large tart or pie tin) generously. Take small pieces of the chilled dough and push into the pan. Smooth with your hands, as this is much too short a crust to roll out.  Make sure that you create a relatively thin layer of crust, about  1/8"-1/4" is fine.  Store any remaining dough wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator.  It will last a few days more for your next foraging adventure. 

Toppings for the Shortbread Crust

Amount of topping depends on the size of the shortbread crust made. Some suggestions:

For all tarts, include a custard: 

  • Beat 2 -3 eggs with some cream.

Tomato Tart:

  • Slice beefsteak or quarter some smaller, very ripe tomatoes and heat slowly in a frying pan with julienned basil.
  • Arrange over partially baked shortbread crust

Always grate or add cheese on top.  In this case, grate parmesan and add a few spoonfuls of soft, fresh goat cheese over the topping. Then pour the custard over all. 

  • Bake in 350 for 20-30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes and serve.

Other ideas for tart fillings depending on what you have on hand:

  • Leftover cooked asparagus, goat cheese and custard. 
  • Leftover cooked corn, custard, grated jack cheese and crema, creme fraiche or sour cream and custard. 
  • Leftover ham, cooked zucchini, grated gruyere cheese and custard. 
  • Leftover winter squash sliced thinly, topped with melted sage flavored butter, goat cheese and custard.