Tart Pan Tips: Sizes, Materials and More

What Is a Tart Pan?

Tarts are a classic dessert beloved by many and why shouldn’t it be?

There’s really nothing like the combination of decadent cream, flaky, slightly sweet pastry crust, and rows of fresh fruit.

Yum!

Not only are tarts delicious, but they’re also visually appealing. Many recipes feature circular rows of mixed fruit shimmering beneath a light glaze all held together by the elegant ridges of the crust.

For me, it’s the appearance of the crust that sets tarts apart from other pastries and that’s all made possible by the unique design of the tart pan.

But what exactly is a tart pan and what makes it unique? 

A tart pan is specially designed bakeware that produces pastry with crisp, finished edges. It has a much straighter edge that can be fluted (or not) as opposed to the shallow or sloping design of a pie pan. Last, most tart pan designs feature a removable bottom which allows you to separate the pan from the pastry without damaging the crust of the pastry.

While tart pans seem simple at first glance, there’s quite a bit to consider when purchasing one for your kitchen.

We’ll touch on everything you need to know so you can get to work on creating your own scrumptious masterpiece!

What Is a Tart Pan Used For?

Tart pans are ideal for getting the crust of your dessert as perfectly as possible. While it might not sound difficult to make a crust, most tart shells are thin and can be delicate, so tart pans are often used to bake the crust before the addition of any filling.

This process is known as “blind baking” and it ensures that the tart shell will be buttery and crisp and able to hold any filling. Without using the blind baking method, it’s possible to end up with a soggy crust which would obviously make your tart inedible, not to mention pretty gross.

Standard Tart Pan Sizes

Tart pans come in a variety of sizes and the one you need will obviously be determined by the recipe you want to make.

The standard height of a tart pan ranges from 3/4″ to 2″ while the standard diameter of tart pans ranges from 3″ – 11″.

Smaller tart pans between 3″ – 5″ are also sometimes referred to as mini tart pans.

Standard Tart Pan Materials

Non-Stick Carbon Steel Tart Pans

Virtually all tart pans sold today are constructed from non-stick carbon steel. The reason for this is pretty simple – it works the best.

In fact, several pans were tested, and it was found that non-stick pans with flutes made the crispiest and easiest to work with tarts.

Specifically, they browned the delicate crust better and also released it from the pan more easily.

As for the fluted design, tarts baked in pans with sharper flutes kept a more visually appealing crust once the tart baked.

Ceramic Tart Pans

Most ceramic tart pans are one piece. In fact, white ceramic tart pans are the ones people most often associate with these desserts.

Ceramic is preferred by professionals because of its ability to conduct heat more evenly throughout the crust but the downside for amateurs is that it can be more difficult to remove the finished tart without damaging the delicate crust.

Less common materials used in tart pans include tin (or tinned steel) and aluminum.

Tart Pan Material Advantages Disadvantages
Non-stick Carbon Steel Crispiest and easiest to work with tarts, browns delicate crust better, releases from pan easily Shorter lifespan compared to other materials, non-stick coating can wear off over time, may require replacement, should not use metal utensils on it
Ceramic Conducts heat more evenly, preferred by professionals Can be more difficult to remove finished tart without damaging crust
Tin or Tinned Steel Durable and long-lasting, good heat conductivity, can be polished to a shiny finish Can react with acidic foods, may warp or dent over time, not non-stick
Aluminum Lightweight, good heat conductivity, affordable, non-reactive with acidic foods Can scratch or dent easily, not non-stick, can discolor over time with exposure to certain ingredients

Types of Tart Pans

Removable Bottom Tart Pan

This type of tart pan is the most popular and commonly available. They’re also sometimes called a two-piece tart pan, loose bottom tart pan and false bottom tart pan.

The major advantage in using a removable bottom tart pan is that it allows you to separate the dessert from the pan without harming the crust.

These kinds of pans have two parts – the ring and a removable base. The removable base rests inside of the pan itself and sits on top the inner ring.

Once the tart has finished baking, the ring is separated from the base and then from there; the tart slides off of the base where it can be transferred to a serving plate.

Fluted Tart Pan

The vast majority of tart pans feature a fluted design.

The flutes resemble wavelike ridges that run along the interior of the pan and are primarily used to give the crust of the tart its signature appearance.

In the same study mentioned earlier, the bakers found the pans with pronounced flutes yielded a superior tart crust to pans where the flutes were wide and shallow.

Tart Pan Types Description Advantages
Removable Bottom Tart Pan A two-piece pan with a removable base that sits inside the ring. Allows for easy separation of the dessert from the pan without harming the crust.
Fluted Tart Pan Features a fluted design, with wavelike ridges along the interior of the pan. Gives the crust of the tart a signature appearance, the pronounced flutes yield a superior tart crust.

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