Tarts for sale!
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today, we finished off all the tarts from yesterday. We brushed them with egg wash, baked, and finally glazed the apricot tart, mirabelle tart, chausson aux pommes (apple turnover), and dartois aux amandes (almond filled puff pastry). Our mirabelle tarts and apricot tarts were also good enough to be sold at the restaurant!

Mirabelle Tart. Made of basic puff pastry dough, almond cream, and mirabelles. Baked, glazed, sprinkled with sugar and ready to be sold!

Apricot Tart. Made of basic puff pastry dough, almond cream, and apricots. We glazed and sprinkles chopped pistachios on the side. One side of my apricot tart was burned because we all had too much fun decorating and forgot about our tarts. But we cut these in half so the unburnt half was sold.

For the chausson and dartois, we made a decorative pattern on the surface with the tip of a small knife after applying the egg wash. This actually requires more precision than I imagined. You have to apply just the right amount of pressure with the knife so as not to cut too deep into the dough, and at the same time keep the blade of the knife at an angle. If you don’t keep the blade of the knife at an angle, the pastry will split in opposite directions as it rises in the oven.

Chausson aux Pommes, close up.

We each made 6 of these and yes, I brought all of them home, yum.

Dartois aux Amandes.

Dartois aux Amandes. A side view of the flakiness of inverse puff pastry.

Cross-section of inverse puff pastry. Just some flakey, buttery goodness.

Another trick to give the chausson and dartois extra shine was to brush the top with a sugar syrup the instant you take it out of the oven. I love the sizzling sound it makes when you do this. The syrup is equal parts (by weight) water and sugar. Just bring to a boil and use.

After baking the tarts, this is the point when all your mistakes in the previous steps become visible. Chef inspected all our final products in detail and told us where we went wrong. Some examples.

1. When laying a second piece of dough (separate, not folding) on top of an existing, don’t try to stretch it to make it fit perfectly because it will retract when it bakes. This was a common problem for the dartois aux amandes.

2. During the tourrage stage (rolling and creating multiple layers), make sure you apply equal pressure to the dough when rolling or else you get uneven layers of butter and dough and your pastry will not rise evenly. And be sure not to over flour your dough when rolling or else it will not brown nicely.

3. When making a puff pastry with filling, make sure there are no air pockets or else it won’t have a smooth surface.

4. Make sure the filling doesn’t spill out or it will burn.

5. When rolling into the final shape, make sure it’s the right thickness.

6. When sealing the chausson, apply just the right amount of pressure with your fingers or else it will deform when it rises. If too much pressure, it will puff and open too much. If not enough pressure, it will rise unevenly.

Chef noted the chausson on the left may not have been rolled evenly during the tourrage stage. For the chausson on the right, it was not sealed well enough.

So what did we do all day as we baked these tarts? We ate of course. We ate the flakes of puff pastry that fell off, the parts we trimmed off, the parts that were a bit over browned, the parts that caramelized from the juices of the fruits. I was definitely oozing with butter by the end of class.

Too much pastry talk? No? Well, more next week!

One Glorious Comment
  • Cam
    October 18, 2013
    Hi Emily, I really love and enjoy reading your blog, this part about puff pastry interested me very much. I usually buy prepared puff pastry at the grocery and make Pate Chaud, turn out very flaky and buttery too☺️. I don't have the patience and talent to make it from scratch like u