***All pictures are a little screwy. I dropped my camera on Christmas morning and, until it gets repaired, I am using our mac to take these pictures.
Normally, I don’t crack under pressure. I can speak in front of large groups and generally perform better on tests than my intelligence would suggest. But this week? Crackedy crack cracked.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I really don’t think Dorie is going to read my blog. We are up to about 8000 TWD’ers. I am a weekly baker and I can’t even begin to read everyone’s blog. But still, since Ms Greenspan herself chose the recipe, the French Pear Tart, I wanted it to be a smashing success.
Shall we recount my errors one by freaking one? Yes, let’s.
1) BLANCHED almonds: For the love of Mike, you should start with the correct ingredients. If you read this blog, you know I am not so much a fan of nuts. When you don’t care for something you don’t pay attention to its particulars. I completely bypassed the word blanched in front of the almonds. I frankly wouldn’t have known what it meant if I had read it. We already had a ginormous jar of dry roasted almonds – looked good to me. I whirled those babies in the food processor into a lovely crumb. A very dark speckly crumb. I probably would have spent all day Tuesday wondering why mine looked so different from everyone else’s. But, I checked out Nick Malgieri’s ” A Baker’s Tour” yesterday and read about blanched almonds while my cream was chilling. D’oh. When my mom first saw the tart she asked if it was made with peanut butter. Not the reaction I was looking for.
Is it more ominous in black and white? It’s backwards cuz of the computer…
2) Sliced pears are not pear halves. You would think that, after having earned two post secondary degrees, I would be able to read. You would be wrong. When you start with pear slices you can’t do the fancy crosswise cut and design. I think I took the “spokes” direction to a new level. (and hell, yes, I went with the canned. When a shortcut is given the stamp of approval, I am there.)
3) I made half the recipe. I still used a food processor for the cream which was a mistake. There wasn’t enough to get mixed well. My blade kept missing the cream which just created more work for me. I stuck it in the fridge for awhile and this is what I got. I had to let it sit on my warm stove to soften before I could spread it.
4) I dutifully made my tart dough in the morning and popped it in the freezer. Love that tart dough. The most extraordinary french lemon cream tart was the very first TWD recipe I made (my official blog came the next week with the disastrous marshmallows, but we won’t go there). Good thing it had ample freezing time as I, of course, forgot the foil covering.
BUT, and here is the good news, the tart was awesome! Despite my tenacious attempts to ruin it (or at least take rustic to a new level), the tart prevailed. I can handle almond flavor when there are not huge chunks of almond in my way. I would absolutely make this again and may try it with cherries next summer.
So, big thanks to Dorie for choosing a recipe even an idiot could conquer and for the book in general.
Next week: Savory corn and pepper muffins, which sound awesome to me!
PS There was a lot of discussion on the P & Q as to pan size, etc. I halved the recipe and baked it in a 6 inch springform. I thought the amount of dough and cream worked perfectly. I prebaked for 10 minutes and baked again for approx. 35-38 minutes ( I lost track).