Good pies and tarts have the combined qualities of sweetness or tartness (or both) and buttery-flakiness. And winter pies and tarts, much different from those baked in the summer, are rich and hearty because, more often than not, they are built upon glowing citrus fruit, winter vegetables and nuts.

The flavor and appearance of winter pies and tarts are much enhanced by a tender and buttery pastry dough, firm enough to stand up to a filling, yet meltingly "short" on the tongue. A well-made shortcrust dough is versatile: it can be the bottom of a pie or tart, or cover the top only of a mound of spiced fruit for a deep-dish pie. The Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough that follows has all of those qualities, is easy to master, and is one to remember for the making of summer fruit pies and tarts, too.

Basically, a dough is made when fat (here in the form of butter) is introduced into flour and there reduced to small bits or flakes. A few tablespoons of sugar are quickly stirred through, and an egg yolk blended with the flour and fat. An all-butter dough, such as the one below, is very easy to handle once set in the refrigerator to chill and relax; tears or other mistakes are mended easily, and the dough bakes up strong and sturdy but tastes tender and crisp. It also browns beautifully. If you own a food processor, this dough can be made in less than 5 minutes.

Even if you are a first-time pie baker, the shortcrust dough will be simple to make if you observe these points of pastry-making:

Everything should be kept cool (the fat, water, egg yolk and the palms of your hands; if you are prone to sweaty palms, rinse them in cold water before cooking); pastry dough should be handled quickly yet deftly and treated to a fair amount of chilling (dough that does not have a chance to rest in the refrigerator after being formed will tense up and shrink out of shape during baking). You can store pastry dough in the tart forms or pie dishes, well wrapped, for up to two days before using; flat sheets of unbaked pie dough can also be stored, closely wrapped, in the freezer for at least one month.

Most of the recipes for pies and tarts use the standard 9-inch pie plate (with rim), shallow 9-inch fluted tart pan (with a removable bottom) and deep 9-inch tart pan (which can also be used in place of the regular 9-inch pie dish). You can use a plain 9-inch pie tin for a deep-dish pie (by just omitting the bottom crust) or you may wish to purchase special oval deep-dish pie dishes, which are generally made of porcelain. Glazed pottery pie dishes are beautiful, too, and can be found at craft fairs, or in stores that feature country crafts.

Old metal pie plates -- a bit of Americana -- are lovely collectibles and are fine for using in baking. These pie plates are made of lightweight tin and produce pies that are golden brown and crisp-crusted. These tins were often inscribed with brand names or sayings, and many, many years ago were sold with pies in them for a 10-cent or 15-cent deposit. These can be found at flea markets, and a pie baked in one is a delightful food gift.

Recipes for the apple and pear pies are of the deep-dish variety. The flavor of the fruit in both pies is brought out by incorporating spices, sugar and a generous squeeze of lemon juice, with cornstarch as the thickening agent. I favor cornstarch rather than flour to thicken pie fillings because cornstarch binds together the filling without making it taste gluey. Cornstarch keeps the juices clear and shiny, too, which makes the filling look good.

The Rich Walnut Tart is a nice variation on pecan pie, made with the requisite corn syrup and brown sugar. This deep tart is loaded with nuts, making small wedges of it highly satisfying. I have made the same tart with a combination of blanched, lightly toasted almonds and pecans with excellent results.

Winter citrus, sliced or juiced, always makes a delicious filling for a pie or tart. Lemons, so readily available at market, are grated for zest and juiced before being incorporated with a few basic larder ingredients (sugar, cornstarch, eggs, butter) to make a sweet-tart Lemon Pie.

All varieties of winter squash make delicious pies. You can go beyond plain pumpkin by steaming the flesh of hubbard, acorn, butternut, golden acorn or turk's turbans squash, and pure'eing it for the beginnings of a tasty pie filling. All pure'ed squash can be made in big batches and frozen in containers (use a 2-cup measure) for pie-making throughout the winter. And I could not leave out my favorite recipe for Sweet Potato Pie, a not-too-sweet version that is light and custard-like, and subtly spiced.

The Coconut Cream Pie is a fine example of how good a stove-top-cooked pie filling can be. The cornstarch thickened pudding-type mixture is yellow with plenty of egg yolks and cools down into a soft, creamy mass.

Following are favorite pies and tarts of winter; each has that old-fashioned taste and irresistible aroma: BUTTERY SHORTCRUST PASTRY DOUGH (Makes enough pastry dough to line a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate, or a deep-dish pie plus a few cutout pastry dough decorations)

This easily handled pastry dough stands up well to most any type of pie or tart filling; the all-butter dough is tender yet incredibly sturdy, and fast to put together. I have included two procedures for making up batches of dough: one, speedily put together in a food processor, and the other, made by hand.

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (stir briefly to aerate flour before measuring)

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 2/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into small cubes, cold

2 tablespoons sugar

1 extra-large or jumbo egg yolk, cold

3 tablespoons (or more) ice-cold water

To make the dough in the food processor: Put the flour and salt into the work bowl fitted with the steel knife. Add the cold cubes of butter and process for about 15 seconds, just until the butter has been distributed into the flour as very small bits -- the mixture should look like medium-coarse cornmeal. Add the sugar and process for 5 seconds to incorporate it into the flour. Blend the egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of cold water together, pour it over the flour-butter mixture, and process until the mixture just begins to hold together, using on-off pulses. Add only enough additional cold water, by half teaspoons, if the dough seems very crumbly. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, with your fingertips, form it into a large round cake (not a ball). Refrigerate the dough, covered in waxed paper, for 15 minutes before rolling out.

To make the dough by hand: Place the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Scatter over the cold cubes of butter and, using 2 round-bladed knives, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is reduced to small pea-size bits. With your fingertips, further blend the butter into the flour by gently scooping down into the mixture and rubbing the butter and flour between your fingers; the mixture should resemble medium-coarse cornmeal. Scatter over the sugar and stir it in with a few swift strokes. Combine the egg yolk and water. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the liquid; quickly combine everything to make a firm but pliable dough. Add only enough additional water, by half teaspoons, if the dough seems crumbly or does not adhere in a rough mass. Turn out the dough onto a cool work surface and press it together with your fingertips to form a large round cake (not a ball). Refrigerate, covered in waxed paper, for 15 minutes before rolling out.

Technique for lining a pie dish or tart pan with shortcrust dough:

Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a large circle using quick and light strokes of the pin; some bakers favor rolling out the dough between large sheets of parchment paper, then refrigerating the dough circle to firm up slightly before lining a pan. Roll out the dough to a thickness of between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. If you are using the parchment-paper method, you may keep the dough refrigerated on a cookie sheet for up to 4 hours before lining the pan.

If you are lining a tart pan, place the dough in the pan, pressing down the bottom first, then press it up and against the sides. Using the overhang of dough, press 1/4 inch of it inside the rim of the pan; roll the rolling pin over top of the pan to cut the excess dough away. Press up the edges of the dough all around, using your fingertips to make the sides a little bit high (they will extend about 1/8-inch above the tart pan). With the tines of a fork, prick the entire bottom of the pastry in even intervals. Refrigerate the pastry shell, covered, for at least 1 hour before baking (shell may be made up to 2 days in advance of using; keep refrigerated). This method works for all shallow and deep tart pans.

To line a pie dish, first cut strips of dough about 1/3 inch thick from the outside of the circle of dough, keeping the shape of the circle intact as you cut off pieces of dough. Lightly brush the rim of the pie dish with cold water and affix strips of dough to the rim. Place the circle of dough in the pan; press down the bottom and sides of dough. Press the dough on top of the rim of dough to form a thickish "double" rim of dough. With the back of a knife, make long scoring marks on the dough to give the rim a bit of depth and texture, then flute or crimp the edges decoratively.

To make a pastry cover of dough (for a deep dish pie), cut 1/3-inch-thick strips of dough from the outside circle of dough, keeping the shape of the circle intact. Brush the rim of a deep-dish pie plate or standard pie plate with cold water, then press on strips of dough. Mound the filling in the dish and lay the pastry cover of dough on top, pressing firmly against the rim of pastry dough. Cut off the excess dough with a table knife; with the back of the knife, make long scoring marks on the side of the dough to build up the sides slightly. Crimp the edges into scallops or flute them. You may reroll scraps of dough and cut out designs, which may be applied to the top of the pastry dough with cold water.

To partially bake a pie or tart shell, line the chilled pie or tart shell of dough with a single length of aluminum foil. Pour raw rice or dried beans right up to the top of the shell. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a cookie sheet set on the lower third level rack. Bake the shell for 10 minutes; remove the rice, lower the temperature to 375 degrees, and continue baking until the shell turns a light golden color -- about 10 minutes. (Baking note: Rice or dried beans may be kept exclusively for the purpose of weighing down pie or tart shells; cooled, and stored in an airtight container, they may be kept for a lifetime of baking. Aluminum or ceramic weights may be purchased for this function, but they are costly.)

To fully bake a pie or tart shell, line the pie or tart shell as directed above with the rice. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a cookie sheet on the lower third level rack; bake the shell for 10 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for about 15 minutes longer, or until the shell turns a deep amber or nut brown color. Cool before filling. COCONUT CREAM PIE (Makes one 9-inch pie to serve 8)

Hefty slices of this creamy pie are wonderfully rich and satisfying. The filling is thick but still very creamy; the cornstarch makes everything bind together without producing a heavy pie.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cups light cream, at room temperature

1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

5 large egg yolks, at room temperature, lightly beaten

3 1/2 ounces (1 1/3 cups loosely packed) sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon pure coconut flavoring (optional), available at health food stores

1 fully baked 9-inch pie shell made from Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough, cooled completely (see recipe)

In a large, heavy saucepan, preferably enameled cast iron, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch until blended into a very fine powder. Slowly beat in the light cream, whisking all the while; blend in the whipping cream and milk. Beat in the egg yolks. Set the pot over moderate heat, and whisking slowly in all directions, bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Continue to boil the mixture until the bubbles can no longer be stirred down, then reduce the heat to low and let bubble slowly for 2 to 3 minutes, until very thick.

Remove the filling from the heat and stir in the coconut; beat in the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. Beat in the vanilla and coconut flavoring. Pour and scrape the filling into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface. Let the filling cool for 10 minutes.

Stir the filling briefly, pour it into the baked pie shell, and smooth over the top with a spatula. Let the pie stand for at least 3 hours to set. Serve slices of the pie with whipped cream that has been sweetened with confectioners' sugar and flavored with vanilla. SWEET POTATO PIE (Makes one 9-inch pie to serve 6 to 8)

This is a smooth and silky fresh vegetable custard pie. Barely warm, it's wonderful with scoops of ice cream, or when custard sauce flavored with vanilla and nutmeg is poured over it.

4 medium-size sweet potatoes or yams, steamed until very tender and pure'ed, to make 2 cups firmly packed pure'e

3/4 cup sugar blended with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon allspice

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature

1/2 cup light (table) cream, at room temperature

1 partially baked 9-inch pie shell made from Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough (see recipe)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the potato pure'e with the sugar and spices. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; blend in the molasses, butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in both creams, stirring well to make an even mixture.

Pour and scrape the butter mixture into the pie shell, and bake the pie on a preheated cookie sheet on the lower third level rack of a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for about 40 minutes longer, or until set. The pie, when cooked throughout, will still wobble slightly in the center (it will shake like a baked custard, not a liquid one).

Cool the pie on a rack. Serve tepid or cool. LEMON PIE (Makes one 8-inch pie or a 9-inch shallow 1-inch deep tart to serve 6)

This lemon pie has a fine tangy flavor. Dusted over with confectioners' sugar, it is a good dessert to serve after a main course of pork, duck, turkey or any hearty beef dish.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

4 jumbo eggs, at room temperature

Grated zest (yellow part only) of 3 lemons

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 partially baked 8-inch pie shell or 9-inch shallow (1 inch deep) tart shell made from Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough (see recipe)

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly blend together the sugar and cornstarch. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the lemon zest, lemon juice and melted butter. Pour and scrape the filling into the partially baked pie shell.

Place the pie on a preheated cookie sheet on the lower third level rack of a 325-degree oven. Bake the pie for about 55 minutes, or until golden on top, lightly puffed and set.

Transfer the pie or tart to a rack to cool completely. Remove the tart from the pan (if the pan has a false-bottomed base). Serve the pie or tart cool, cut into wedges. APPLE-RAISIN DEEP-DISH PIE (Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie to serve 6)

Heavenly scented with spices, this apple pie boasts golden raisins soaked in a little apple brandy or rum for a flavor boost. For the perfect balance of tart and sweet, my first choice of apple would be granny smith; these apples hold their shape well while baking, but stay tender and buttery.

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 1/2 pounds tart cooking apples, such as granny smith, peeled, cored, thinly sliced and tossed in the juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup golden raisins, soaked in 1 tablespoon apple brandy or rum

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny dice, cold

1 recipe Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough, prepared for use in a deep-dish pie (see recipe)

FOR GLAZING THE PIE:

1 egg white, at room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar (approximately)

In a large bowl, blend together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Add the apple slices and raisins (along with any brandy or rum), and toss well.

Mound the apple mixture in the 9-inch pie pan (the rim having been lined with strips of pastry dough according to the directions for making a deep-dish pie). Dot the top of the apples with the butter. Cover the apples with the pastry, sealing well along the edges. Flute the edges. Apply any extra pastry cutouts to the top of the pie by brushing them with water to adhere. Cut slits on top of the pie to allow cooking steam to escape.

For the glaze, beat the egg white until frothy and brush on the top of the pie. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over top.

Bake the pie on a preheated cookie sheet on the lower third level rack of a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 40 minutes longer, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender (you can insert a toothpick in one of the steam vents to test the apples).

Remove the baked pie to a rack. Serve warm, tepid or cool with vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream flavored with vanilla. SPICED PUMPKIN OR HUBBARD SQUASH PIE (Makes one 9-inch deep tart or a 9-inch pie to serve 6 to 8)

Just how special can a winter squash pie be? Very special, if you make your own vegetable pure'e out of squash that is steamed and cooked gently to thicken. Small, sweet sugar pumpkins, golden acorn squash with beautiful bright orange skin, and hubbard squash are all excellent when cooked for the pie.

3 extra large eggs, at room temperature

1 extra large egg yolk, at room temperature

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups (1 pound) pumpkin pure'e, hubbard squash pure'e or golden acorn squash pure'e (see cooking note below)

1 cup whipping cream, at room temperature

3/4 cup light cream, at room temperature

1 partially baked 9-inch tart shell (2 inches deep), or 1 standard 9-inch tart shell made from Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough (see recipe)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Stir in the flour, molasses, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat in the vegetable pure'e. Blend in both creams. Pour and scrape the mixture into the partially baked pastry shell.

Bake the pie (or tart) on the lower third level rack of a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes; lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes longer or until the filling is set. Cool the pie on a rack; if baked in a tart pan, unmold when thoroughly cooled.

Serve the pie (or tart) with lightly whipped and sweetened whipping cream flavored with a little vanilla and cinnamon.

Cooking note: To make your own squash pure'e, cut fresh pumpkin, hubbard squash or golden acorn squash into halves or large wedges, depending on the size of the vegetable. Steam the squash until very tender (about 30 minutes, depending on the variety of the squash). Cool the squash, then scoop away the seeds; scrape out the flesh and pure'e very well in a food processor, blender or through the fine holes of a food mill. If you are using hubbard squash (which is more watery than any of the other squashes), simmer the pure'e in a saucepan to thicken up slightly and evaporate the water. Cool completely before using. A general guide for buying squash: 2 pounds fresh squash will yield 1 pound puree. DEEP-DISH PEAR PIE WITH CINNAMON AND GINGER (Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie to serve 6)

Fresh, flavorful pears are so good baked in pies and cobblers, tasting fruity and mellow at the same time. Make this pie when your pears are just beginning to ripen, and are still barely firm to the touch but still aromatic-smelling.

1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 level tablespoon plus 1 level teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

2 1/2 pounds just-ripe pears, such as comice, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick, and tossed in the juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny dice, cold

1 recipe Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough, prepared for use in a deep-dish pie (see recipe)

FOR GLAZING THE PIE:

1 egg white, at room temperature

2 tablespoons granulated sugar (approximately)

In a large bowl blend together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cornstarch and chopped ginger. Add the pears and toss everything together.

Mound the fruit mixture in the pie plate (the rim having been lined with strips of pastry dough, according to the directions for making a deep-dish pie). Dot the top of the pie with the diced butter. Cover the pears with the pastry dough cover, sealing well around the rim; flute the edges decoratively. Apply any pastry cutouts, if using, to the top of the pie by brushing them with cold water before positioning them. Cut a few slits on the top of the pie to allow the cooking steam to escape.

Beat the egg white until frothy and brush over top of the pie. Sprinkle the granulated sugar on top.

Bake the pie on a preheated cookie sheet on the lower third level rack of a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 minutes longer, or until the pastry is golden on top and the pears are tender beneath (insert a toothpick in one of the steam vents to test the pears).

Cool the pie on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, ginger ice cream or whipped cream flavored with a little ginger. RICH WALNUT TART OR PIE (Makes one 9-inch tart that is 2 inches deep, or a 9-inch pie to serve 8)

Crisp, lightly oily walnuts make this a tart to remember: it's dark and thick with nuts, and the filling is reminiscent of pecan pie.

5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla

12 ounces fresh walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 partially baked 9-inch (2 inches deep) tart shell or 1 9-inch pie shell made from Buttery Shortcrust Pastry Dough (see recipe))

Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl with a whisk; beat in the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the walnuts. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pastry shell.

Bake the tart (or pie) on a preheated cookie sheet on the lower third level rack of a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the filling is set, about 40 minutes (the filling will wobble slightly, and a toothpick inserted in the pie will emerge with jelly-like particles clinging to it; if the toothpick withdraws perfectly clean, the tart is overbaked).

Cool the tart on a rack, then unmold; cool the pie on a rack until ready to serve. If you like, wedges of the rich walnut dessert may be accompanied with a dollop of lightly whipped and sweetened whipping cream.