The Easy Trick For Making Tarts Without A Tart Pan

If you have a sweet tooth, you're probably not one to pass up a tart. There's a lot to love about the classic baked dish, which features a sweet or savory filling with a pastry crust. Since their early origins in the 1500s, tarts have been filled with savory meat fillings, much like their pie cousins, and they've also been adapted to fulfill sweeter cravings with fruit or custard fillings (per Just Fun Facts).

When it comes to tarts, the crust can make or break the entire process. While pies usually have to stay in their baked pans due to the naturally flaky and crumbly consistency, tarts are meant to be put on high display without a pan, which means tart crusts are usually firmer. But it's also a little bit harder to ensure it can stand on its own.

Whether you prefer a sweeter tart — we're looking at you, no-bake pineapple cream tart recipe — or a savory tart (hello, perfect smoked salmon and cream cheese recipe), you need to nail down that firm crust. But what if you start prepping your tart, only to find that you don't have a true tart pan? Not to worry — there's an easy trick for making tarts without a tart pan.

The inverted cake pan method

Do you want to make a tart but don't have any tart pans in your kitchen? You could go out and buy a tart pan, but then it's just going to sit there with the million other used-once-a-year pans and miscellaneous cooking items in your cabinets. Instead, you can work smarter and use an upside-down cake pan.

According to World of Pans, you can use a cake pan to make your perfect tart crust. Instead of rolling out your tart crust on the inside of it, similar to the method you'd use when lining a pie crust inside a pie pan, you'll want to flip the cake pan upside down and drape it over the outside of it. While we recommend using a circular cake pan for the best results and to maintain the "classic" tart shape, you can also use a rectangular or square cake pan. 

To avoid making it too deep, drape your crust around halfway of the side of the pan and use toothpicks to help hold it together and make it even. The same goes for crimped edges — have some fun with it and use your fingers or a fork to create the look you want, suggests Blog Chef. If you're worried about having to lift the baked crust gently, line the outside of the pan with parchment paper and use the corners to help you carefully remove the tart crust from the pan, advises World of Pans.

Other DIY methods

Not sold on using a cake pan to make a tart? There are a couple of other things in your kitchen that you can also use as a substitute if you find yourself without a tart pan. According to Leaf, pie pans are also a decent alternative to make a tart crust with, as they come in a similar circular shape to tart pans.

Another great substitute is a springform pan. With this, you'll be able to benefit from the pan's removable edge and collar (per Cook's Illustrated). 

Additionally, a quiche pan can work as a substitute tart pan. The only thing here is that a quiche pan is usually pretty deep. To use one as a tart pan, drape the tart dough over the quiche pan, but leave some extra room to not make it as deep. A lot of quiche pans actually have a removable bottom, which is even better and will allow you to put the tart crust right in the pan itself. If you opt for this method and it's a little deeper than usual, add a few extra minutes to your cook time to ensure your tart filling bakes all the way through, advises Baking Kneads.