Mini Tart Shells (French Pastry Dough)

5 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Step your baked creations up a notch with homemade mini tart shells! This French pastry dough is so easy to make and can be used in desserts that call for an extra buttery and flaky crust.

Mini Tart Shell being held

Whenever I’m stuck on inspiration I love looking around online for other food bloggers. When I stumbled upon American-in-Paris David Lebovitz’s site, I spent hours looking through his recipes. I was especially intrigued by a pastry dough recipe he claimed: “couldn’t be easier to make, or more interesting, and yielded a wonderfully flaky, buttery dough.” 

It turns out David was inspired by his friend Paule Caillat, a woman who teaches cooking classes in Paris at Promenades Gourmandes. I tweaked the recipe he shared ever so slightly, and have since used it in my chocolate salted caramel tarts. You could also adapt it to use in my Meyer lemon tart as well as this chocolate macadamia nut tart. This pate sucrée, as they call it in French, is the perfect base for so many yummy fillings.

THE BEST part is you form it in the pastry shells instead of rolling it out, carefully laying the dough over and gently pressing and forming into the mold! It’s brilliant.

I totally envision making mini tarts for the holidays or even special birthdays. I wanted to share this recipe with you all so that you can do the same! 

Mini Tart Shells on a baking dish


  • All-Purpose Flour – The base of nearly every type of dough or crust is all-purpose flour. You could also make this recipe gluten-free by using almond or coconut flour instead! Just be aware that the taste and texture may be slightly different.
  • Butter – All good French pastry dough is packed with butter. Opt for high-quality varieties for the best results.
  • Water – You’ll need to add just a bit of water to the dough in order to get the consistency right.
  • Vegetable Oil – The same goes for vegetable oil! Use your preference.
  • Sugar – This is a pate sucrée recipe after all (sucrée means sugary in French), so you’ll have to add some sugar to the mix.
  • Salt – Just a pinch of salt is all you’ll need — it balances out the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Mini Tart Shells – A quick note on equipment: you’ll need six non-stick 5-inch mini tart shells to make this recipe. If you don’t have them, head to the FAQ section to learn what to do.


  1. Prep Your Space. Preheat your oven to 410 degrees F and make sure that your individual tart shells are in place. Measure out the flour and keep it in a bowl that you can set aside for now.
  2. Combine The Ingredients. Using a medium-sized ovenproof bowl (I swear by Pyrex), combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt and mix. 
  3. Heat The Mixture. David’s recipe calls for placing the bowl in a 410 degrees F oven for 15 minutes, or until the butter begins to bubble and the mixture browns on the edges. You can do the same, or simply microwave the bowl on High for 8 minutes.
  4. Add The Flour. Carefully remove the bowl from the oven or microwave and add the flour while stirring quickly (use a wooden spoon). You want to end up with a ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Divide The Dough. Evenly divide the dough into the 6 individual tart shells using a spoon or an ice cream scoop. Allow it to cool slightly, then press the dough into each shell with your fingers. You also want a bit of it to come up on the sides of the tart mold.
  6. Bake The Dough. Prick holes in the base using a fork so that the shells won’t crack as they bake. Place the mini tart shells filled with your pate sucrée into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Allow to cool and add any filling you like!
overhead view of Mini Tart Shells

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have A Mini Tart Pan?

While I definitely think that mini tart shells are a great investment, especially if you do a lot of baking, I can understand if you don’t have them at home. In a crunch, you can make this recipe in a muffin tin! They will be smaller, but you’ll get the same taste and consistency. It’s something to try for sure!

holding a mini tart shell

What Can You Put In Mini Pastry Shells?

If you’re unsure what to use your pate sucrée for, I’ve got plenty of ideas:

  • Mini lemon meringue pies
  • Mini fruit tarts using berries and pastry cream
  • Caramel or butterscotch sauce and whipped cream
  • Lemon or orange curd
  • Chocolate mousse 

You can also make mini pies of any flavor using this French pastry dough! Feel free to get creative. 

Should You Pre-Bake Mini Tart Shells?

Definitely! When you pre-bake your pate sucrée, you won’t have to worry about it getting mushy when you add your filling of choice. This step is especially important if you’re working with a no-bake filling.

What is French Pastry Dough?

French Pastry Dough, or French Tart Dough, is made by adding the flour to almost browned, melted butter and water and then formed into a shell or pie mold.

Still Hungry?

Subscribe to my Newsletter, follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube for all my latest recipes and videos.

Mini Tart Shells (French Pastry Dough)

5 from 2 votes
Use this recipe for mini tart shells for all of your pastry needs! All you’ll need are pantry ingredients like flour, butter, and sugar.
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 8 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 23 minutes


  • 6 5-inch round, non-stick tart shell



  • Preheat oven to 410°F. Measure out your flour and keep in a bowl, set aside.
  • In a medium-sized ovenproof bowl, such as a Pyrex bowl, combine the butter, oil, water, sugar, and salt.
  • The original recipe called for placing the bowl in a 410°F oven for 15 minutes, until the butter is bubbling and starts to brown just around the edges. I used the microwave on high for 8 minutes.
  • When done, carefully remove the bowl from oven (or microwave), dump in the flour and stir it in quickly with a wooden spoon until it comes together and forms a ball, which pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Divide the dough to 6 individual (5-inch round) tart shells (I use an ice cream scoop) or two 9-inch tart shells.
  • Once the dough is cool enough to handle, pat it into the shell with your fingers and press it up the sides of the tart mold.
  • Prick the dough base all over with a fork. Place the tart shells on a baking tray and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.
  • Let cool and spread with any filling you like.


Adapted from David Lebovitz via Paule Caillat, who teaches cooking classes at Promenades Gourmandes in Paris, France.


Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 378mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 708IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
Mini Tart Shells on a baking pan


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

Free Bonus
5 Secrets to True Tex Mex
Essential recipes & tips for delicious Tex Mex cooking!

email image

Explore More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. This recipe is screwy. It calls for three sticks ( 1 1/2 cups) of butter but only a cup of flour. That can’t possibly be right.

    1. That would be 3/4 cup butter to 2 cups flour, measurements updated to show US Customary and Metric. Sorry for any confusion Pat.