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How To Make A Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell (Pâte Sablée)

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make a delicious Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell, also known as Pâte Sablée, I’ve got a delicious and easy recipe that you can use to make all sorts of pies and tarts. It has a light and buttery texture and pretty much goes with any filling you can think of!

Chocolate Tart Shell - top down shot with rolling pin

In today’s recipe we’ll be learning how to make a chocolate tart shell. This recipe is beginner friendly. It’s really easy to make and super impressive to serve up too. You need a few simple ingredients and simple equipment and you’re on your way to making a great bakery style tart that looks like it’s straight out of a French pastry shop!

Pâte Sablée VS Pâte Sucrée

Chocolate Tart Shell - side by side

The two tart shells are very similar in flavor. Slightly bitter, not overly sweet but the difference is in the method. Pâte Sablée (what we’re making in this recipe) is made by rubbing cold butter into the dry ingredients giving you a crumbly, flakey tart shell. Pâte Sucrée is made by creaming the sugar and butter together which gives you a slightly crispier tart shell. Both taste delicious and in my opinion, this recipe is easier to work with!

What Can I Fill This Tart With?

This is the thing I’m most excited about with this recipe! This is a base recipe that you can use with so many fillings! Just keep in mind, some fillings are wet, like my chocolate mousse so you need to brush the tart shell with melted chocolate before adding the filling.

What is Blind Baking?

It’s actually quite a cool step of the recipe. Basically, we do the first round of baking with weights in the tart shell. This will prevent the pastry from puffing up as it bakes. It keeps it all nice and flat and in place. You do this by lining the unbaked tart shell with baking paper and then adding weight to it. I use dried chickpeas, rich people use baking beads (they’re expensive!) After you’ve done the first round of baking (20 minutes) you carefully lift the weights out from the baking paper and continue baking.

To bake for wet fillings that need further baking – bake for 5 minutes after you take the beads out. Then add your wet filling and bake as needed.

To finish baking for no-bake fillings – things like a set chocolate mousse, caramel or chocolate ganache, bake for a further 20 minutes, allow to cool and use as needed. Please note: some fillings can cause your tart shell to go soggy. To keep your tart shell nice and dry brush it with melted chocolate before adding the filling. Let it set, then add your filling.

Ingredients You Need To Make a Chocolate Tart Shell

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Chocolate Tart Shell - ingredients image
  • Cake flour – also known as pastry flour this is a low protein flour that gives you a light and crumbly tart shell. If you don’t have cake flour you can use all-purpose flour (plain flour).
  • Powdered sugar – also known as icing sugar.
  • Cocoa powder – both natural and Dutch processed cocoa powder will work for this.
  • Butter – I used salted butter for its flavor. You can use unsalted butter, just add 1/4 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients.
  • Egg yolks – these help bind the dry ingredients together, add flavor and richness and also make rolling the tart out much easier.
  • Iced water – this will help keep the butter cold making sure it doesn’t melt into the dry ingredients. That cold butter will help make your pastry flakey.

How to make a Chocolate Tart Shell!

Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 01
  1. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor (recipe card includes making it by hands instructions). Pulse to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse,
  3. Until you reach pea sized pieces of butter.
  4. Add the egg yolks and pulse,
  5. Then add the iced water and pulse
  6. It will look quite crumbly.
Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 02
  1. Bunch together on your workbench.
  2. It will form a dough disc.
  3. Wrap up in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours.
Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 03
  1. Once chilled, allow to thaw for 10-20 minutes and begin rolling out.
  2. If any cracks form, pinch them together.
  3. Continue rolling until its 14-inches in diameter.
  4. Roll over your rolling pin.
Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 04
  1. Then lift up,
  2. Roll out over an 8-inch tart tin.
  3. Then lift the dough up into the tart tin, don’t stretch it or it will shrink as it bakes.
  4. Use a rolling pin to cut away the excess dough.
Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 05
  1. Neaten up the sides if you need to.
  2. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the tart. This will help stop it from puffin up in the oven.
  3. Line it with baking paper that’s been scrunched up.
  4. Place inside the tart shell.
Chocolate Tart Shell - steps 06
  1. Fill with baking beads. I used dried chickpeas.
  2. Pat down and bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Once it’s baked, take out the beads by lifting the baking paper up from the sides. I usually place my beads back into my container and leave the lid off.
  4. Bake another 5 minutes if using baked fillings and further 20 minutes for no-bake fillings.

How To Stop Your Tart Going Soggy

This applies to no-bake fillings. Things that just set on their own without needing to be baked. Use a pastry brush to brush with melted chocolate. let it set and then add your filling.

Chocolate Tart Shell - unbaked tart shell

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Measure out using kitchen scales – measuring ingredients out by weight and not cups is the best way to get consistent results every time! I wrote all about this in my post about using digital kitchen scales!
  • Make sure you use cold butter and iced water for this recipe so that your pastry shell comes out buttery and flakey.
  • When bunching the dough together to form a disc, try not to knead it too much otherwise you risk it shrinking when it bakes.
  • When rolling out the dough, make sure your bench is well floured, rotate the dough as you roll and pinch any cracks that might form around the outside as you roll.
  • The easiest way to transfer the rolled out dough into the tart tin is to roll it over the rolling pin, then roll out onto the tin.
  • If you don’t have baking beads (really expensive) use dried chickpeas when blind baking the tart.

Frequently Asked Questions about making a Chocolate Tart Shell

How do I store the baked tart?

You can store the unfilled and baked tart in an airtight container for about a week.

Can I freeze the baked tart shell?

Yes! Wrap carefully in plastic and freeze for up to 2 months. I would transfer it to an airtight container so it doesn’t break.

Can I use this to make small tart shells?

Absolutely! You can use this for smaller 7-inch tart tins. Baking time will vary depending on the size of the tart shell.

How Do I Store the unbaked dough?

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days or double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month.

What happens if my dough tears while rolling it out?

Totally fine. Just use excess dough to patch it up and flatten it with your finger.

Why is this recipe is in grams and not cups?

The short answer is accuracy! It is far easier, more accurate and you get more consistent results when you measure ingredients by weight, especially in dessert and bread baking! I wrote all about this in my post about using digital kitchen scales!

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Chocolate Tart Shell - thumbnail

Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell (Pâte Sablée)

Learn How To Make a rich Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell that you can use for so many different desserts!

Serves 1

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Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Chill: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Calories: 2168kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell

  • 225 g pastry/cake flour
  • 75 g powdered sugar
  • 40 g cocoa powder
  • 110 g salted butter chilled and cubed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp iced water


Instructions

  • Chocolate Short Crust Pastry Shell
  • To make dough by machine – Add the flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Add the cold butter and pulse until you reach pea sized pieces of butter. Add the egg yolks and pulse until combined, about 6-8 pulses. Lastly, add the iced water and pulse until a rough dough forms and no dry ingredients are showing. It will still appear pretty crumbly. The key here is to not over mix as this will result in a dough that is tough and shrinks when it bakes.
  • To make dough by hand – add the flour, sugar and cocoa into a large mixing bowl: use a whisk to combine.
  • Add the cold butter cubes and use your fingers to rub into the dry ingredients until small flakes form. Careful not to melt your butter with your warm fingers!
  • Add the egg yolks and use a standard tablespoon or wooden spoon to cut the yolks into the dough Then, add the iced water and use the spoon to mix in cutting motions until a dough forms. Take care not to overmix the mixture otherwise it will become tough and gummy.
  • To chill the dough – Turn the crumbly mixture out your workbench and bunch it together (without kneading). Form a rough disc shape and then wrap in plastic. Chill for 60 minutes or up to overnight.
  • To roll the tart out – When you’re ready to roll your dough, let it thaw for about 10-20 minutes. Lightly dust your workbench with flour and use a rolling pin to roll out to 14 inches wide and about 3mm thick. If your dough is sticking to the rolling pin, lightly dust more flour onto your dough until it isn’t sticking. You want to roll your dough out with care, pinching any cracks that may form on the sides. Turn the dough around as you roll to prevent it from sticking.
  • To form the shell – Carefully roll the disc over the rolling pin and unroll over an 8-inch tart tin with removable bottom. Carefully lift the dough over the tart to allow it to naturally fall into the corners of the tart. You don’t want to stretch it or it will shrink as it bakes and become uneven. Discard excess dough. Use a fork to gently prick the bottom of the dough.
  • To blind bake your tart shell – Place the pie tin on a baking tray. Scrunch up a large piece of baking paper and then un scrunch it. Gently place on the inside of the tart tin. Fill with baking beads. I used dried chickpeas. Place back in the fridge and chill for 15 min.
  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 160C / 320F (180C / 356F for no fan). Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and carefully bunch the corners up to slowly lift the beads away from the tart.
  • Second bake with wet filling – If filling with a wet filling that needs further baking in the tart shell, bake the tart for 5 minutes.
  • Second bake with no-bake filling – If filling with a no-bake filling like chocolate ganache, bake for a further 20 minutes. This will fully bake the tart shell. If you’re using a no-bake filling that’s quite wet like a no-bake cheesecake filling, brush your fully baked tart shell with melted chocolate. This will prevent the filling from making your tart soggy.
  • To seal your tart – if you’re using wet fillings for your tart you want to seal your tart to stop it going soggy. Do this by brushing a thin layer of egg white on the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven. The heat will cook the thin layer of egg. If you’re using fillings like caramel or chocolate ganache, there’s no need to do this.

Notes

Storage – Tart Shell can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Nutrition – is an approximate and is based on per tart shell. This recipe makes one tart shell.
A note on measurements – this recipe is offered in weight measurements. This is in an effort to offer the most accurate way to get the best results. Cup measurements simply aren’t accurate enough for a recipe that needs precision and cup sizes differ depending on where you are in the world. To learn more about how to measure ingredients using digital kitchen scales, click here!

Nutrition

Calories : 2168kcal
Carbonhydrates: 263g
Protein: 50g
Fat: 119g
Saturated Fat: 68g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g
Monounsaturated Fat : 34g
Trans Fat : 4g
Cholesterol: 1014mg
Sodium: 757mg
Potassium : 1531mg
Fiber: 39g
Sugar : 75g
Vitamin A: 3807IU
Calcium: 248mg
Iron: 16mg
Nutrition Disclosure
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