Pie and Tart Recipes Archives
Welcome to the page where you'll find all my pie and tart recipes, sweet and savory.
Read on to learn about the differences between pies and tarts, watch pie crust tutorial videos, and to get some equipment recommendations.
If you'd like to go straight to the recipes, please click the link below.
What's the Difference Between Pies and Tarts
Americans definitely seem to be pie-obsessed.
What exactly is the difference between a pie and a tart?
This was one of a handful of burning questions that I took with me on my first day of culinary school. On pie v tart lecture day, I craned eagerly forward, waiting for the answer to this pastry mystery.
Gotta tell you, folks–I was in for a bit of a let-down. Turns out, the explanation was….murky.
Here’s how it went down: “Tarts have short, thick-ish, straight sides. Pies have deeper, thinner, slightly sloped sides. Tart pans look different than pie pans.”
This is where I began some serious internal muttering.
“Pies have flaky crusts, but not all the time."
"Tarts have sandy, crumbly crusts. Usually."
"Tarts don’t have a top crust. Pies either do, or they don’t.”
“Tart crust tastes better than pie crust because it’s an integral part of the dish. The pie crust is just there to hold the filling."
"Since tarts don’t have a top crust, the fillings are beautifully arranged. Sometimes pies are pretty.”
Are you kidding me?!
“Since tarts have a higher crust to filling ratio, tart fillings are often richer than pie fillings. But not necessarily. And there are always exceptions to any rule. And, why is your face so red, Ms. Field?”
Are There Hard and Fast Rules?
No, there are no hard and fast rules, other than height
Now I tend to see the difference between the two as more of a qualitative one.
I also approach it from an American point of view. You know, cuz that’s where I’m from and all.
To me, tarts feel a little more elegant than pies.
Most pies are homey and comforting, but often good old American pies are all about excess.
How many bananas can I cram into that pie?
How high can I swirl that meringue?
Peanut butter and chocolate and marshmallow cream and toffee pieces? Awesome!
American big-ass fruit and cream pies are the Hummers of the pastry world.
Bigger and richer than they have any right to be, and unapologetic about it.
Regular American non-steroidal pies are sedans: ample, but not showy; sensible.
Tarts are European sports cars: the perfect marriage of form and function delivered in a relatively small, precision package.
Tart Dough Versus Pie Dough
Tart dough is rich, sandy and flavorful, and the fillings are generally made to complement or contrast with the crust nicely.
With a tart, it’s about balance.
Pie dough can be tasty, but it’s really more about texture than flavor with a pie crust.
You either want it to not get soggy, or you want it to be flaky.
Take for instance this pate brisee recipe you can use as the crust for all manner of pies, sweet or savory.
The flavor generally takes a back seat to texture since pie crust is basically just a vehicle to get the filling to your face.
Pie Crust Tutorial Videos
Because so many folks seem afraid of making pie dough, some of the first videos I made for the site were about making pie crust.
This first video answers a lot of frequently asked questions about making pie dough:
This second video focuses on actually making pie dough. I talk about ingredients, but most importantly, you'll get to see what the texture of the dough should look like when it's ready. It will seem much drier than it ought to be:
This third video focuses on how to line your pan and crimp your dough to ensure it doesn't shrink on you in the oven.
Pie Making Equipment
Pies have been around in one form or another forever. So you really don't need a bunch of specialized equipment, and none of it is expensive.
For rolling out dough, my hands-down favorite tool is a French rolling pin. They're lightweight and tapered so they're easier to use to roll a radius.
To have the best chance of getting a nicely crisped bottom crust, I encourage you to bake in metal pie pans.
They might not be as pretty for serving, but they conduct heat very well, and you need a blast of heat from the bottom to ensure a crisp, well-baked crust rather than a gummy, underbaked one.
This will give you a better chance of getting a nicely baked crust even in a more insulated pie pan.
And for tarts, I love these tart pans with removable bottoms. They make it so easy to serve, and the fluted edge is really lovely.
I have a lot of traditional pie recipes on the site.
My chocolate chess pie recipe is a Southern classic and is welcome all year round.
Another favorite is vinegar pie. It's a little unexpected, but it's truly delicious and very easy to make.
One of my favorite pies, both because it's delicious and for sentimental reasons, is my chocolate cheesecake pie. It was my brother's favorite pie, and every year, he used to request it for his birthday.
Tart-wise, don't miss the chai apple cheesecake tart. It's a gorgeous pie that's not too difficult to make. It's a beautiful presentation for when you really want to impress.
Please enjoy browsing below, and if there is something particular you'd like a recipe for but you don't see, please email me. I'm happy to help!