27 September 2009


Finishing out this set of classes before our next exam: tarts. We learned several types of dough, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and we also learned to make multiple fillings.

lemon cream tart with French meringue (with pate sablee crust)

lemon curd tart with Italian meringue (with pate sablee crust)

The difference between lemon cream and lemon curd is the amount of butter called for in the recipe. Lemon cream contains more butter, and therefore cannot go into the oven after the tart is filled or else the butter will melt and cause separation. The French meringue is baked separately, then the pieces are decoratively placed on the tart. In the case of a lemon curd tart, the Italian meringue is baked for a very short amount of time directly onto the tart filling. (I took my eye off the ball for a minute, so mine browned too much, but I like how the spread meringue looks regardless. Luckily there's not a very noticeable taste discrepancy.) Both tarts are delicious, but only remain so for about a day before turning gummy.

Sablee, which translates to sand in French, is exactly what one would assume: crumbly and delicate. It is temperamental when being rolled; it becomes sticky quickly, so often it has to be re-chilled and rolled again. It is not advisable to use sablee dough with extremely liquid fillings (like fruit) due to its tendency to become soggy. The gelatin content in the lemon cream and curd are stable enough to stand up to the baked sablee crust. We also baked a chocolate tart using sablee dough; the chocolate filling has a custard-like texture.

blueberry tart with streusel topping

The blueberry filling is essentially the same one would use in a classic blueberry pie. We topped our tarts with an almond streusel; an Italian meringue could also be used.

We also made an apricot tart, which was baked in a pate a foncer shell. Pate a foncer is more durable than pate sablee, but lacks vanilla or any other sweet flavor. This dough would be good to use for a savory tart or quiche. In this case, almond cream is piped into the shell and topped with apricot slices. When baked, the cream rises to envelop the apricots. I thought I had a picture of this, but it turns out I don't. It's still tasty enough to mention, though!

Paris brest

Paris brest is a pastry made using a hazelnut pastry cream combined with a traditional buttercream, as well as rings made from pate a choux (typically used as dough for eclairs, cream puffs, etc.). This is a heart attack waiting to happen.

St. Honore

We made an inverted puff pastry as part of this recipe, which was a very satisfying experience (I mean, who makes their own puff pastry?!). Two separate dough-like elements are needed for the puff pastry: a flour base and a butter base. After each is chilled, the flour base is sandwiched between the two halves of the butter base, then rolled thinly and folded. This rolling and folding process is repeated twice more over an extended period of time. The remainder of the "tart" consists of cream puffs made with pate a choux and a vanilla creme legere, which is pastry cream with whipped cream folded into it. The base of the tart is a square of the inverted puff pastry. The puffs are dipped in caramel and secured around the edges, and the inside is filled with the creme legere. Delicious? Yes. Good for you? Absolutely not.

Our second exam takes place this week. It will cover ice creams & sorbets, plated desserts, sugar candies, and tarts.

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