Cooking and baking have become one of my favourite pastimes. When I lived in Canada, I would always have a dozen frozen unbaked tart shells in the freezer so I could easily whip up some goodies in a pinch – like mini quiches, Hong Kong style egg custard tarts to mini pumpkin pies. Since living in the United States, I have, however, been in the constant search for frozen unbaked tart shells to stock in my freezer. When asking the many baking departments I’ve visited here, “Where can I find the frozen unbaked tart shells?”, the baker replies, “You mean the pie shells.”. Then I am graciously directed to the frozen unbaked pie shells. Tart shells or “mini pie shells” or “tartlets” are no where to be found … yet.
In the U.S., the term “tart” seems synonymous to “pie” – a savory/sweet goodie cooked in a 6 to 10 inch pastry shell. By contrast, in Canada, “tart” refers to a goodie in a 2 to 5 inch diameter pastry shell, whereas a “pie” is still a pastry shell at 6 to 10 inches wide.
Both sweet and unsweetened varieties of frozen unbaked tart and pie shells are readily available in major Canadian grocery markets like Loblaws (Superstore), Save-On-Foods, Safeway Canada, etc. They are found in the bakery section, or frozen goods freezer aisles. Tenderflake is the most common brand, otherwise, you can also find local or in-house made ones too.
In Silicon Valley, only pie shells seem easily available. I have searched many supermarkets for tart shells – from Safeway USA, Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Costco Wholesale, Target and to individual bakeries in this area. Googling hasn’t provided anything useful either.
But I haven’t lost hope in finding the elusive frozen unbaked tart shells yet. Still on my list of places to search are: Walmart, Lucky Supermarket, Nob Hill Foods and Robert’s Market. — Wish me luck!
P.S. If you know where to find frozen, unbaked tart shells, please let me know 🙂