Pat-in-the-pan pastry shells have long been a part of Patricia Wells' everyday repertoire because they are quick, easy and foolproof. Note that the dough is delicate, so be cautious once the shell is baked.
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1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon, blanced and refreshed (See Note)
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, confectioners' sugar and salt. Gradually stir in the flour to form a smooth, soft dough. Place the dough in the center of the prepared pan. Using the tips of your fingers, evenly press the dough along the bottom and up the sides of the pan; it will be quite thin.
Bake the shell in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or just until the dough is firm and lightly browned. Let cool completely before filling. Do not remove from the pan before the tart is filled and set.
To blanch lemon zest, boil it in water for 3 minutes; drain, rinse in cold water to refresh it and drain.