A tart catastrophe rescued by figs
Monday, September 12, 2011

We started the week with French class. It was very practical, the whole lesson was related to food. We also got a list of kitchen verbs and common terms. And we learned how to describe making a leek tart in French. I keep telling myself I’m going to study French this weekend but there always seems to be something more exciting to do (or eat).

In our lab, we made cinnamon dough for a lintzer tart. The dough was really fragrant, reminded me of gingerbread cookies. One girl loved it so much she kept eating the cookie dough.

Creating a sandy texture with butter, flour, and sugar. Our Chef calls this sableé-ing the dough. Getting the right texture will ensure a crumbly tart crust. Normally we made the dough with our hands but today, we used the KitchenAid mixer.

After lining the tart right with the cinnamon dough, we filled it with almond cream and covered it with raspberry jam and strips of dough for decoration. After baking and tasting, I feel like we ruined a potentially good tart with an overload of jam. Can you see my tart below? It’s got more than 1 jar of jam in it! I could only eat the edge of the tart and it was delicious, especially where the jam caramelized. Next time, I’ll make this with 1/2 the amount of jam (replacing the other 1/2 with almond cream) in the recipe.

Linzer tart before baking. I wasn't very happy with how I placed the strips of dough on top. It would be nicer if the parallelogram shapes were smaller and had equal sides.

Afterwards, we lined another tart ring with sweet dough, and almond cream (sounding familiar yet? it’s in almost every tart!). This was our first time baking the sweet dough without a tart weight. Until now, whenever we blind baked tarts, we always put a bag of sugar inside to help prevent it from falling in. And it looks like thats exactly what happened to mine.

My disastrous almond-filled tart after coming out of the oven. Everyone's tarts seemed to distort (not as bad as mine though) except Chef's. Chef said it was because my tart wall was too thin and I didn't stick the dough to the buttered ring enough.

I was really disappointed when I saw my tart come out of the oven, this was my first disastrous product in class. I wanted to throw it out but Chef told me to trim it and it will be fine. So I listened.

Saving the tart part 1: shave off edges to create an even surface.

Then, we made a pastry cream from milk, eggs, sugar, and custard powder. I didn’t like that we used custard powder, I would’ve preferred a more natural vanilla tasting custard made with cornstarch as the thickener. A trick that Chef taught us when making custard (pour hot milk into a thick egg/sugar/cornstarch mixture and cool), is to whisk half the sugar into the milk and half the sugar into the eggs. It’s easier to whisk the milk into the eggs this way.

We put a thin layer of this pastry cream, assembled sliced fresh figs and raspberries on top… and voila! No one will ever know what happened… except for all you readers.

Saving the tart part 2: cover with sliced figs and raspberries!

If only I liked almonds more, I would've enjoyed this tart more. The texture of this tart was crunchy (from the shell) and soft and crumbly from the almond cake inside.

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!