Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2008 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
If the dough crumbles while rolling, just patch and press the dough together. If it softens too much, slide onto a baking sheet and freeze until it is very cold and the corner of the top sheet of waxed paper pulls away from the crust easily, about 10 to 15 minutes.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, fine grind (regular)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
MAKE THE CRUST
1. Cut the butter into small pieces or shred on the large holes of a box grater. Freeze for ten minutes until frozen.
KELLY SAYS: I just marked where 2 tablespoons was on the stick of butter and grated to that point. It is easier and safer to do it this way.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined.
KELLY SAYS: I always run my dry ingredients through a sifter to get out any lumps. This also helps to mix the ingredients.
3. Toss the frozen butter and quickly press it into the flour mixture between your thumb and forefingers until it resembles small bread crumbs (pea-size pieces are not necessary with this crust.)
3. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolk, and ice water.
KELLY SAYS: I like to separate the yolk from the white using clean hands.
Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture while tossing with a fork until thoroughly moistened but not wet. The clump of dough should hold together when pressed between your thumb and forefinger, but look dry on the outside. You may not need all of the egg mixture.
4. Gather the dough in the bowl to bring it together (the dough will remain somewhat crumbly) and make a thick disk).
Wrap it in parchment or waxed paper; plastic wrap makes the outside sticky. Refrigerate until well-chilled, about an hour or more.
HOW TO ROLL
1. Generously spray a 9-inch or 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with vegetable oil spray. Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom, and spray with vegetable oil spray, again.
2. This dough must be well-chilled in order to roll properly; otherwise it will be sticky.
To roll the crust, place the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Roll a circle about 12-inches in diameter and 1/8-inch thick.
3. Fit the crust into the tart pan: Remove the top piece of wax or parchment paper. Chill the dough briefly in the freezer for about 5 minutes if it softens after the top paper is removed.
4. Set the tart pan bottom on the center of the rolled dough. Position the tart pan side over the bottom. Flip the cornmeal crust and tart pan over at the same time so the crust begins to ease into the pan. Peel away the second piece of wax or parchment paper. If the paper will not come off easily, chill everything as is in the freezer for about 5 minutes until cold.
5. Gently press the dough into the pan. Piece and patch any cracks with left-over dough. Before trimming the edge of the crust, make sure the top of the crust is secure by pressing gently with your index finger and thumb against the top rim of the tart pan.
6. Trim the tart by running a rolling pin over the top of the pan.
The unbaked crust will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator, well-covered.