Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tart tricks and critiques

My pate brisee (aka "flaky" or "pie" crust) turned out well in the form of our first savory item, a quiche. It was light, buttery, and flaky, and the custard set nicely thanks to Chef T who manned the ovens. It was the best quiche I've had since my summer in France 10 years ago. My only complaint was that the tart's double wall wasn't well defined or thick enough. Note to self: fold the crust over the edge thicker next time.

Here is one trick to keeping your lemon curd tart from getting soggy too fast - line the bottom with scraps of cake. We were fortunate to have sponge cake lying around that could be cut precisely, but crumbs will work just fine. Just make sure that the layer is thin enough so there's enough room for plenty of curd.

Here is my first attempt at torching meringue. As you can see, I had trouble guaging where the heat was coming out of the torch, and ended up burning the crown a bit. The piping job was okay for a first attempt, but one of the reasons why you pipe meringue on top of lemon curd is to seal the tart, which I didn't do too well, as you can see. Next time, I will fill and assemble the tart AFTER removing it from its tin, and use a little less curd so the meringue will cover it better. It was humid today so the meringue was rather weak, but my partner Kell and I were lucky. Two other teams' didn't even set, and it "wept" and dripped all over their tarts, looking rather like a wet icing. Don't get to taste it til tomorrow, thank goodness, because as you will see as you read on, we needed to pace ourselves today.

Chef's frangipane tart, which is kind of like a pound cake in that it contains a pound of flour, a pound of butter, and 10 eggs. The only difference is that it uses almond flour and the bottom of the tart is lined with raspberry jam and the top is glazed with apricot preserves, making the whole thing taste like a Linzertorte, but less sweet. As you can imagine, with 1 lb almond flour, this is a rather expensive tart to make.

And finally, a real Warm Chocolate Tart. Unlike the usual brownie-like ones you get in most restaurants, this is a custardy one set inside a shortbread-like sucree shell. There is no flour in the filling, just cream, milk, chocolate, and an egg to help the custard set. It was DEEE-licious.


Lana said...

So the lemon meringue tart had a flaky crust?

Those desserts look so rich!!! I can see why you need to pace yourselves. Will you be making them tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

you're making me really hungry moocow....they're all mouth-watering pics!

MooCow said...

no, it had a sugar cookie crust. we made components of the tarts, but not the tarts themselves. we've moved on to brioche, savarin, and petit-fours already. we'll probably be making tiny versions of these tarts later on though!