A fluted edge tart pan was one of the first pieces of French cookware that I bought upon arriving in France. The French are great fans of tarts, both sweet and savory, and not a week goes by in the typical French kitchen without pulling the tart or quiche pans out of the cupboard at least once.
Of course you can use pie tins to make most recipes calling for one of these pans, but the advantage is all in the lovely presentation. It is easy to get an elegant fluted edge using these pans, and if you use one with a removable bottom you can simply take your whole tart out of the pan and place it on a serving dish. Looks great every time!
Tips for Using Your Tart Pan
Fit your dough into the pan and then run a rolling pin over the edge to get a nice finish - no need to pinch to get a good looking edge.
A 9 inch pan is about the right size for most traditional pie recipes.
Once the dough is fit into the pan, place it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes as the oven is warming and you're fixing the filling for the tart. This causes the dough to adhere to the pan as it is baking and you get a nicer looking result.
To keep the finish on your non-stick pans like new, avoid using metal knives or anything sharp to serve your tart. Instead use a nylon tart server.
Remember to pick it up by the edges if you are using a pan with a removable bottom. If you place your hand underneath one of these, the tart will pop out and voilà a mess you didn't need.
Don't limit your tarts to traditional round shapes. These square, rectangular and heart shaped pans add a fun touch to any table.
Mini tart pans are a great solution when you are looking for something extra special to serve. Note that some of these are for making a whole serving of something (perhaps a quiche) while others are truly small and intended for creating bite sized appetizers or desserts. Have fun!
Although it may be slightly harder to get out out the first piece, some bakers claim that ceramic pans make superior crusts. These dishes also look great on the table.