Tuesday, May 11, 2010

TWD - Frienemies (and a Quick Classic Berry Tart)


Frienemies...you know...the type of friend that just brings you down. The type of friend who you find yourself wondering if they really are looking out for your best interest. Sure, you've had some good times with them, but you are always just a tad suspicious of their motives. Think Regina George in Mean Girls. Think Georgina on Gossip Girl.

Pastry Cream is my frienemy. Ahhh Pastry Cream. So tasty and sweet. There are times when I love you. But just when I think I've whisked you to perfection, you pull some sneaky move on me and become evil and hard to work with.

This week's TWD recipe for Quick Classic Berry Tart was selceted by Cristine of Cooking With Cristine. I made this tart and brought it to my Grandmother's house for a Mother's Day brunch! This is a straightforward, "quick" as Dorie calls it, tart. All you do is whip up a batch of pastry cream, make and bake your sweet tart dough, pour the cream into the crust, decorate the top with berries, and lightly glaze with currant jelly. Sounds pretty easy, right?



Nothing is quick or easy about my frienemy, pastry cream. But I set out on a mission. I asked pastry cream if perhaps we could put our past behind us and just move forward. I measured my ingredients. I heated my milk to a boil. I tempered my eggs. I whisked the whole thing vigorously until it reached a boil, then whisked a few more minutes. I whisked in my vanilla and my butter. And boy did that pastry cream come out lumpy. Why???? Grrrr.



Well, as my mom always told me, if at first you don't succeed, try try again, and I was making this for Mothers Day, after all. So I cursed at that batch of pastry cream, threw it in the garbage and tried again. This time I got a beautifully smooth and silky pastry cream. Success!...or so I thought. Into the fridge it went.



Next up, I made Dorie's Sweet Tart dough for the tart shell. I live for the Sweet Tart Crust. Sweet Tart Crust and I are good friends. Sweet Tart Crust is nice to me and always bakes up perfectly. I can count on Sweet Tart Crust.


I assembled my tart at my grandmother's house. I poured my pastry cream into the tart shell and all looked good. I arranged my berries and applied a light currant jelly glaze. I brought my tart to the table. Everyone thought it was stunning. I couldn't have been more proud.

But then...I cut into it...and my pastry cream turned into The Blob and dripped all over the place. Every piece of the tart I cut was a runny mess. WTF. In hindsight, I think I should have used only about half the amount of pastry cream I used, and doubled the amount of berries I used.

I will say this - despite the runniness of my pastry cream, this tart tasted amazing! Everyone who tried it absolutely loved it. Hope the other members of TWD had a better pastry cream experience than I had! Next time I will get this pastry cream right. I'll get you next time gadget....neeeeeeeext time!!!




19 comments:

  1. I had a hard time with my tart too! Quick my a$$. At least yours looks pretty, and I bet it tasted just fine!

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  2. This looks gorgeous! I didn't have any trouble with my pastry cream, but I did read in NM's The Modern Baker that you should not whisk or stir the pastry cream when it is cold before you put it into the tart or it will get watery. Hmmm...first I knew about this little tip. Anyway, does that fit anything in your process? He says just scoop it gently without stirring into the crust, the berries are going to cover it anyway. I plan on checking this out at some point soon...because, let's face it, it's just another excuse to make a tart like this with pastry cream! Research, all about the research. Your tart looks beautiful.

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  3. Looks beautiful! Sorry about that pastry cream. I didn't have too much trouble but I had no idea what I was doing. Beginner's luck I guess. Better luck next tome, and I agree, this was delicious!

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  4. your raspberries look so delicate. one of the more expensive fruit but soo yummy.

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  5. Thanks for going to battle with your frienemy and baking along with me this week! Your tart looks gorgeous!

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  6. Ciao ! Your tart looks divine ! When The cream gets lumpy just whizz(?) it with an immersion blender Minipimer (?) I'm sorry to be so confused but if you immerse it without letting any air get in the cream it makes wonders !

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  7. When I turned 30 last year I decided I didn't need my frienemies anymore, so I simply stopped meeting them! Pastry cream and I, however, are best friends!! :D

    Your tart looks really good though!

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  8. Too funny. I thought you were going to say pastry cream was a frienemy because it's so good and so bad for you (my thoughts!) Mine usually turns out extra thick so I compensate with extra milk... funny how the same recipes come out differently for everyone! Your tart is stunning either way and looks so delicious!

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  9. Mine was a little on the loose side, too. It was still pretty tasty, though. Your tart is stunning!

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  10. MIne was lumpy but tasted good. I whipped it before I put it in the tart and it was still gumpy.

    Yours looks lovely. And it was hit and that is what counts.

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  11. Sorry about your cream, maybe it needed a little more time cooking? My cream was perfect, and I even whisked it cold (like she said). I think you will just have to make it a few more times, and you will get it down.
    At least it wasn't burned! That would have been way worse! Beautiful presentation. :)

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  12. LOL @ your reference to frienemies! If this was a person we were talking about, I would tell you to cut your losses and get out of a toxic friendship. But, since it's pastry cream to which we are referring, I agree with the "try try try again" mentality. It looks delicious, and the great thing about sweets is that they still taste great even when they don't cooperate with staying together.

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  13. The picture looks great and everyone loved it. That's the most important part!

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  14. I think making pastry creams and custards is a learned art. I'm still not very good at it.
    But your tart sure does look great and I'm glad everyone liked it, too!

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  15. You made the pastry cream TWICE? I am in awe. I would have done something lazy like whip out the stick blender and try to make the lumps disappear. But you were rewarded with silky smooth pastry cream, way to go!

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  16. You are dedicated to make pastry cream twice. I'm with Leslie I would have just blended the lumps out of batch one. Your tart looks gorgeous.
    Mimi

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  17. Sorry to hear about your troubles with the pastry cream! I'm glad it tasted delicious in the end, though! It looks beautiful :)

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  18. Haha I love Gossip Girl too so I definitely don't think you're pathetic :) The pastry cream gave me trouble this week too. I don't really like it though so I couldn't get motivated to give it a second try. Your tart is gorgeous - pretty photo!

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  19. Pastry cream is SO devious... great one time and an enemy the next! Yours LOOKS great - and I'm sure it tasted great as well. Nicely done!

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