Years ago, at my first job out of college, I worked with a girl whose idea of idea of eating a balanced meal was to finish the fries that came with her extra value meal. “Do you ever eat fruit?” she was asked. “No” was the response.
“Ever?” we inquired.
She then became known around the office as Scurvy Girl. We all laughed, thought she was ridiculous and of course, probably looked down on her being the snobs that we were.
Fast forward to today. My husband eats an apple, an orange and a banana every day. EVERY day. I looked at my own eating habits and realized I have become SCURVY GIRL. Veg? No problem. But fruit is sorely lacking from my diet. Not that I don’t like it, I just don’t think to eat it. So in an effort to add in fruit, I decided to eat at least one piece of fruit a day. Most recently, it’s been pears. In the scheme of all things healthy, it probably isn’t the best, but it’s my fruit of choice for right now.
My love of pears and TWD
So I chose the French Pear Tart as my very first post for Tuesdays With Dorie. Not that I think that counts for my daily serving of fruit, but I’m all about pears right now.
I was soon to be reminded why I am not a baker
I signed up for TWD cause I wanted to become a better baker. I forgot, of course, that baking does NOT fit my personality in the slightest. It is picky, exact, frustrating. You always need an ingredient you don’t have, or a pan you don’t own. The steps are unforgiving. When I’m done, the kitchen looks like a tornado hit it. This is why I’m a cook – I can do whatever I please and it turns out ok or at the very least, I can fix it. So yeah, my first baking challenge was just that – a challenge.
Things that went wrong:
1. Ok, I had an 11 inch tart pan, not a 9 inch. Too late to do anything about it, so had to use it anyway. When making the tart crust, I didn’t let it come together enough in the food processor (was scared to over process) and then had to push it together rather forcefully when putting in the tart pan. This probably had a detrimental effect on the crust – and to be honest, I found it to be quite dry (not to mention overcooked) when all was said and done.
2. When mixing the butter and sugar for the almond cream part, mine never got smooth and satiny. Just kept whizzing around the food processor in a ball. So I said the hell with it and moved on – in retrospect, probably too soon because in the end, the cream was a bit grainy.
3. Ok, next up – slicing the actual pears. I did NOT understand how I was supposed to slice them according to the directions. When they are “fanned out” and placed in the pan, the narrow side was supposed to face a certain way. I was thinking that the pears were supposed to be layered on top of one another all the way AROUND the tart – not just in 6 spokes (yes, I understand that is what the directions say, but I’ve never ever seen this and obviously didn’t get it. Perhaps a picture to assist the baking noobs?). And why in the eff would you create a tart where not every piece gets some of the pears? I mean, really?? What’s the point, other than aesthetics? I’m venting here. Bear with me. So anyway, add that to the list of “things that went wrong”.
Oy. Why am I doing this again?? I swore up and down the kitchen all afternoon. Almost kicked the cat out of frustration (sorry, Sherman – I said ALMOST. You know I love you).
My verdict? My crust turned out extremely dry and of course, since I used a bigger pan, there wasn’t enough almond cream on each bite so you REALLY noticed how dry it was. The flavor of the pears was good, but I think I’d use a different cream recipe next time. Maybe a different crust too… .
And this, my friends, is why I’m a cook, not a baker
Did I happen to mention I have trouble following directions? Um, yeah…
Here’s hoping that my next baking escapade turns out better. I need a drink. 🙂