Brown Butter Tarts are the most sold desserts at the restaurant. They are not at all difficult but making as many as we sell, can be daunting. I make these using 3 3/4 x 1/2 inch tart shells with removable bottoms. However, at home, for my shells do not have the removable bottom and they work fine for these Brown Butter Tarts. We originally used 4 1/4 x 1/2 inch tart pan but it proved to be too much with the ice cream so we reduced the size of the tarts.
This recipe features an updated version of the individual press in crusts that were used for the Banana Caramel Rum Tart. It eliminates the need for two pieces of dough to make one shell lessening the possibility of the two pieces separating where they meet. The shells can be pressed in and frozen months ahead of time if well wrapped. These tart shells require no rolling out. They are simply pressed into the shell.
Brown butter adds a depth of flavor that simply melting butter can’t. There is a fine line between brown butter and burned butter. When butter is browned, the milk solids in the butter are the browning element. By heating the butter to the boiling point, lowering the heat and gently heating the milk solids the butter will become a nut colored brown. Remove it immediately from the heat and pour it into another container to keep the butter from burning or pour it into the filling.
Butter brickle is added to partially baked pastry shells, the filling is poured in and they are baked.
Butter brickle which is the inside of the Heath Bars can be purchased at grocery stores in bags where it is already chopped up.
At the restaurant, the Brown Butter Tarts are served with Salted Caramel Ice Cream. I chose to serve these with the Salted Caramel Sauce from the best Apple Pie ala Mode you’ll find. I have a pet peeve when it comes to sauced desserts in most restaurants. The plates are drizzled with so little sauce it is hardly noticeable. As you can see, I make a puddle of sauce and plunk the Brown Butter Tart in the middle so each bite has salted caramel with it.
Press In Tart Shells – for how to photos go here.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1/2 cup cake flour (60 grams or 2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter (114 grams, 4 ounces or 1 stick)*
1/4 cup sugar (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1 egg yolk
*If making the dough in the processor, the butter needs to be cold and cut into small pieces before being added to the processor.
If making the dough in the mixer, but butter needs to be softened so it can be creamed with the sugar.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Food Processor Method (preferred): Place the flours and baking powder in the food processor.
Processor to mix briefly. Place the cold butter in a circle over the flours. Process until indistinguishable. Add the sugar and process briefly. Add the egg and yolk and process until a ball forms. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, place back in the processor and process to bring it back to a ball. This is done because the top of the dough hits the top of the processor cover and is not as well mixed. Re-mixing ensures the dough is completely combined.
Mixer Method: Combine the flours and baking powder. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg, the yolk, and the vanilla. Beat to combine. The mixture may curdle but that is fine. Add the flour mixture and beat until it comes together.
Place the tart pans on a rimmed baking sheet and spray the centers of the pans only. Do not spray the sides.
If using the smaller tart pans, divide the dough into ten portions of 45 grams or 1 1/2 ounce each.
Roll into balls.If using the larger tart pans, divide the dough into six portions of 75 grams or 2 2/3 ounces each.
Lightly flour your work surface. Flatten a small ball into a 4 inch round with the palm of your hand. Place it evenly into the shell. Press the dough up the sides of the shells. Using your thumb, press the dough firmly into the sides. Flatten the pastry on the bottom of the pan. Prick with a fork.
For the larger shell, flatten the large ball into an approximately 5 inch round. Follow the instructions above.
Repeat for the remaining tart pans.
Freeze the tart shells for about 10 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan and bake several more minutes until lightly browned. The shells will be partially baked.
Cool the shells until they can be easily handled. Remove the shells from the pans and place them on a parchment lined rimmed baking pan.
Leave the oven on.
Filling for Brown Butter TartsButter Brickle as needed
6 tablespoons butter (90 grams or 3 ounces)
1/4 cup flour (35 grams or about 1 1/4 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Butter Brickle as needed
For the small shells, place 1 rounded tablespoon brickle in the bottom of each pastry shell. Set aside.
For the large shells use 1 1/2 rounded tablespoon brickle per shell.
Brown the butter over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the butter browns to a medium brown on the bottom.
In the meantime, place the flour, sugar, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer. Beat to combine all the ingredients. Pour the hot, browned butter in and mix well.
Fill the shells to the top.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the filling is a golden brown and set.
The Brown Butter Tarts are best served slightly warm.
Yield: Larger tart shells maks 6 tarts. Smaller tart shells make 9 to10 tarts.
These tarts freeze extremely well so they can be made ahead. Well wrapped they will last at least a month in the freezer. Thaw them on a rack. Heat in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes or until warmed through. They should not be hot.