A trio of tarts
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We spent the morning in the lab today making more tarts. We used our remaining pate a foncer (shortcrust) dough to make a tarte au flan (custard tart) for which we made the custard filling as well. Then we got working on a more delicate sweet dough (not sure why there is no French term for this one) which was used for a tarte bourdaloue (pear and almond frangipane tart).

For the tarte bourdaloue, we poached pears in a sugar syrup and allowed them to cool overnight before using. The pears tasted wonderfully refreshing and tender, unlike the over-sweetened, mushy canned fruit chunks.

Pears cooked until easily pierced with a knife and soaked in a sugar syrup. You can also add a vanilla bean for flavour.

Drying our pears before using them for our tart.

The almond cream that sits under and around the pears is made from whipped butter, ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and a little flour. We finally got to use the Kitchen Aid mixers for this cream. So far, I enjoyed assembling this tart the most.

Sweet dough is lined with a thin layer (about 1cm) of almond cream first. The almond cream will double in volume when baked so it should only cover half the height of the tart.

Pears are cut and placed inside the tart. Almond slivers are sprinkled on and then we bake the tart.

Tarte bourdaloue completed.

My favourite out of these three tarts. If only the almond cream wasn't flavoured with rum, I'd probably have eaten a lot more of it.

Finally, our last task in the labo was to make the custard cream for the tarte au flan (custard tart). I was a little disappointed that amongst milk, sugar, and eggs, the recipe also included ‘custard powder’. It must contain a list of unidentifiable/ unnatural ingredients. I’m not sure why we couldn’t just use cornstarch and vanilla? Plus, it baked up into an unappetizing bright yellow colour.

My completed tarte au flan. Doesn't that look like a giant chinese egg tart from dim sum?

The tarte au flan tasted surprisingly light. I was expecting it to be very sweet and artificially flavoured but it was not at all.

Oh, and not to forget, we glazed our baked apple tarts from yesterday. I tried to put on as little glaze as possible but Chef noticed and took my tart because I was brushing in the wrong direction. He proceeded to drench it with glaze while showing me how to do it properly. The glaze is another mysterious ingredient made of many unidentifiable/unnatural ingredients. And to make it worst, it came as a block of jello (which we simply just melted) in a giant paint-sized bucket. And then after glazing, Chef tells us to pour the unused glaze back into the tub. Gross.

Apple tart, drenched in glaze!

After lunch, we had a lesson in the classroom and Chef went around and critiqued out tarts while we ate them. I was looking forward to taking my tarts home and sharing them with my housemates but instead, we cut up 4 tarts and the rest were shuffled away to the restaurant for tomorrow’s lunch. I wonder if I’ll be able to identify my cut up tart.

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