Culinary Arts

Fruit Tart Base: Vanilla Sablé Shell

Dominique Ansel

Lesson time 13:57 min

Chef Dominique teaches you how to make a vanilla sablé shell that serves as the base for a set of stunning fruit tarts in the chapters to come. Learn to fonçage and blind-bake pastry dough for a tart shell that serves as the optimal canvas for endless variation.

Dominique Ansel
Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel teaches his essential techniques for making delicious pastries and desserts in his first-ever online class.
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There's hundreds and hundreds of recipes of doughs out there. One of my favorites is simple very light tart shell. I'm going to show you all the steps to make a good one. Think about the tart shell as a canvas. That's your drawing board. That's what you are going to use to make a beautiful tart. As you can see, all the ingredients are in front of me. And this is very important. This is pastry chef way, actually what we call mise en place. I remember one of the first time I actually cook at home for my girlfriend, I had to scale out all the ingredients to be able to cook. And I used all the bowls in the kitchen. And she was a little shocked to see that the cabinet was empty and I've used everything. That's the way I cook. That's the way I learned, and I think it's very important to have everything in front of you measured in scale before you start doing anything. So here, we have flour, cornstarch, eggs, butter, powdered sugar, and a little bit of salt. So you're going to start mixing the powdered sugar with the butter in the mixing bowl. It's very important to scale everything separately because as you can see, everything is pretty much white. It looks similar. Just in case the phone rings, you have to run away to do something else, you come back, you remember exactly what you have. We're going to start creaming the butter and the sugar together. Then we'll mix the flour, the cornstarch, and the salt, and incorporate this into the mixing bowl with the egg. For this, we use the paddle. The whisk will be too weak. It will break the whisk. So the paddle is the best to mix this dough. I'm going to then add the flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Sometimes people ask me is it important to sift everything. I say it used to be, but now ingredients are made so they are ready to use. So unless you have real clump in your flour, you shouldn't be shifting everything. We combine everything together to make sure it's mixed properly. And then here I have vanilla bean. So vanilla is one of my favorite ingredient. I always prefer real vanilla over the extract. The extract always have this artificial alcoholic flavor and the fresh vanilla bean is, of course, like very floral and very light. Press down on the vanilla to make it flat, and then use a paring knife and cut it the half long ways. So this will allow us to cut through the vanilla and extract the seeds. The seeds are now right here. I will take the back of my knife, I'll press it down, and I'll push it all the way through. And you will see these little black pieces are the vanilla seeds that you need to incorporate into your dough. So, of course, vanilla is very expensive. I don't ever waste anything. This can be used also to infuse into a milk for different preparation, for a pastry cream, for instance. Even after that, I always save it. Rinse it off, dry it in the oven for a couple hours, and blitz it, turn it into a powder that I can use for other preparation...

The Art of French Pastry

Celebrated for his innovative twists on classic desserts, Cronut® creator and James Beard Award-winner Dominique Ansel has been called the “world’s best pastry chef.” In his MasterClass, Dominique teaches his essential techniques for perfect pastries. Learn baking and more with his precise methods, add classic recipes to your repertoire, and explore texture and flavor inspirations to delight friends and family with your own decadent desserts.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Ansel is very calm, collected, detailed. Kinda helped that he was a bit slow on demonstrating things because I really understood all of his explanations.

I learned a lot of new techniques, secrets and recipes that I'm ready to try!

He was very thorough and it was very helpful. Thanks!!

It was helpful to learn techniques, as much as recipes. I also learned a lot of helpful vocabulary; it's helpful to have words to aid in further practice and research.


Lola H.

Is it necessary to make the dough with a stand mixer? I currently only have an electric handheld one.

Jesse P.

I like using rice instead of beans. The beans left an impression on my first tart shell.

Kelli D.

Great lesson and easy to follow. Love watching the magic happening in this kitchen!

It didn’t go well. It was toooo soft even though i refrigerate it all night long. Something wrong. I live in Mexico, do i have to change something_

A fellow student

Let say I Walt to make a médium or big Madeleine... how much Time on thé oven?

Trish G.

I made a gluten-free version of dough using king Arthur gluten free flour. The tart crust turned out well.

Graham Z.

It wont let me download the pdf. This is what happens. Error> <Code>AccessDenied</Code> <Message>Request has expired</Message> <X-Amz-Expires>3600</X-Amz-Expires> <Expires>2019-06-23T13:48:25Z</Expires> <ServerTime>2019-06-23T18:59:33Z</ServerTime> <RequestId>64FA58CB50904465</RequestId> <HostId> zkZJ4zAC83MxBH9aPl+0qFNPqUO2mspJp5ittOukmtTB9WBntDvQO33G/2mnVoDY4mbQ0mgiA7E= </HostId> </Error>

Yiannis L.

Very often tart shels are baked a second time without the beans. It is a bit confusing because the recipe pdf mentions another step which doesn't appear in the video of baking the shell for another 16 minutes after the first 16 to 20 minute baking. Even so the recipe doesn't state to remove the beans and bake for another 16 minutes. Maybe I ma getting something wrong but by comparing the video and the pdf I am confused about the proceedure

Julie C.

If I am filling this with a filling that needs baking do I prevalent the crust at all?

A fellow student

The flour sold in stores in the US do have an anti caking ingredient in it which is also unhealthy for you, aluminum. You can avoid it by buying organic flour. I usually buy the King Arthur brand (no affiliation) but have not tried it with any recipes yet for this class.