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No-Roll Tart Crust for the Pie-Phobic

I love it when you guys read my mind.

Last week, I put out a request for more “Ask Casey” topics on the GFS Facebook page, and among the responses was a common refrain: “Why am I crap at rolling out pie crusts?”

Good thing I had this post in the hopper.

I’ve done pie crust tutorials here, but today, you can put that rolling pin away. You won’t need it.

no-roll tart crust

The French and their all-knowing pastry ways have your back with this one, and they call it pâte sucrée

Its literal translation is “sweetened paste,” but pâte sucrée is a dough, no doubt. Only it’s a shape-shifting kind of dough.

Half sugar cookie, half pie crust, it’s moldable but bakes up light and tender.

no-roll tart crust

This tart crust is pliant yet structured, soft yet crumbly. And yes, you really can roll it out with nothing more than your fingers.

I came late to the cult of no-roll tart crust preferring to do things the hard way, as always.

(See also: my homemade junk food obsession, using reusable plates and silverware at all my parties, driving in slightly convoluted patterns to avoid making left turns across busy streets —what? I’m like Zoolander!)

But stubbornness and perfectionism can co-exist even in a tart crust as simple as this one.

It comes together in less than 5 minutes when you’ve got a food processor—just a little longer if you’re doing everything manually.

After than, it’s time to let your fingers do the walking, pushing and flattening the dough against the bottom and sides of a tart pan.

This tart can be as rustic or as refined as you want, but either way, the dough won’t fight back.

lemon olive oil tart
Photo: Casey Barber

I added a little white whole wheat flour to my version as a halfhearted concession to health, but you can do it with all-white flour if that’s what happens to be in your pantry.

After a quick chill and a 15-minute bake, you’ve got a ready-to-go tart that’s just begging for a sweet filling. What to pour into it? How about:

If you want to fill your tart crust with fresh fruit and bake it like an open-faced pie, just nix the foil and pie weights below.

no-roll tart crust

No-Roll Tart Crust

Yield: 1 9-inch tart
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

No-roll tart crust is perfect for pie-phobes who don't want to pull out a rolling pin. Use your fingers to press this quick crust into a pan.


  • 1 cup (120 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Pulse the flours, sugar, and salt together in a food processor just until combined.

    Add the butter and pulse about 8 times, until the texture is pebbly with pea-size chunks of butter throughout.

    In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract together.

    Pour into the food processor and pulse in 3-second bursts until a soft dough comes together. Be patient—it will happen.

    Don't have a food processor? Use the instructions for making dough by hand in my pie crust tutorial.

    Press the dough evenly with your fingers into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, making sure the crust rises at least 1/4 inch above the edge of the rim. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Line the tart pan with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

    Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until the crust is starting to brown and is no longer puffy in the center when you peek below the foil.

    Gently lift the weighted foil off the crust and bake for 3-5 minutes more until golden brown.

    Remove the tart from the oven and cool completely on a rack before filling.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 79mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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  1. I’ve been making the same pie crust my entire life – the way my mom taught me. I think it would be fun to try something else, so I’m going to give this one a try.

  2. Magnifique! My fingers are up to the task and my food processor is beginning to be used for something other than pesto!

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