In its essence, a tart is just a filling baked in a pastry shell. Sounds familiar, right? Yes, it’s a pie—only smaller. The most significant difference being that tart sounds sophisticated and pie modest (dare we say humble?). However, there are some other differentiating characteristics that amount to one conclusion: the pie got shortchanged.
For example, pies are typically associated with only sweet fillings, whereas tarts can be savory or sweet or a mix of both. Tart pastry can be perfectly shaped into a variety of tart pans or folded into a rustic shape. Pies, on the other hand, are limited to a basic pie plate or, for the more adventurous, the hand-held variety. While pies have a traditional reputation (read: boring), tarts tend to be filled with more exciting combinations, from exotic fruits and herbs to onions and beets.
With the aforementioned limitations creating the pie stereotype, I think it’s fair to say that the tart is the liberation of the pie. It’s the pie set free to be its tarty self. This holiday season, I’m taking my favorite pie recipes and liberating them with a sexy tart spin. Peanut Butter Pie becomes a Chocolate Peanut Butter Tartlet, perfect for sharing. Classic Apple Pie looks svelte and tastes decadent as an Apple Caramel Tart. And Chess Pie goes Florida-style with oranges in the silky Citrus & Custard Tart. Bye bye, pie! Hello, tart!