Tarts, Tarts and More Tarts…….
The first month at school was admittedly quite difficult for me. Baking at home is one thing and baking in a professional environment is a completely different ball game altogether. The tools that you use, the quantity in which you make things was a little intimidating at first for me. 🙂 Nevertheless, I was quite excited and it has been a fun, hectic and hard first month for me.
We started off with tarts and it continued for a good two weeks. We were taught the traditional techniques that French use to make the different doughs, line tart rings etc. And I think it would be appropriate to skip the recipes and share with you interesting facts or techniques that I learn at school!
We started with the basic PATE A FONCER (shortcrust dough).We made only the TARTE AUX POMMES(apple pie) with this dough.
The French use the “SABLAGE” technique (taken from the verb Sabler which can be interpreted as Sand-like).
The flour and the fat (butter, chopped) must be rubbed together lightly until the texture is sand-like. If you over work the dough, the butter melts and you get crumbles. This means the dough shrinks while rolling and after being baked.
The next dough is the PATE SUCRÉE(sweet dough) and we made quite a lot of French classics with this one. The major difference between both the above doughs is the content of sugar. As the sweet dough has more sugar it is more sweet and less elastic than the shortcrust dough. Hence, it is difficult to roll out compared to the shortcrust dough as well.
2 techniques to knead the dough. One, is sablage as explained earlier. The second method is CREMAGE where the butter, sugar and eggs are creamed first and the flour is added thereafter.
Once the dough comes together, the dough needs to be smoothed by the technique called FRASAGE. Form your dough into a log and using a scraper, start to scrape the dough from one in small quantity until all of the dough is smooth. Must be done a maximum of 2 times only.
One the dough is done, it MUST be left in the refrigerator to rest as the gluten gets relaxed and it is easier to roll out the dough.
Technique to Line the TART :
1. roll out the dough and place over the ring.
2. Create a base by pushing the dough in with your thumb.
3. Push in some dough by your thumb at the top to create an edge
4. Crop off the extra dough.
5. Pinch the edges to decorate.
Apart from the usual apple, lemon, chocolate tarts we also made some different ones like the Tarte Dacquoise, Victoria Tart. The Tart Dacquoise has a baked dacquoise( it is a mixture of meringue and almond flour) base, topped with vanilla cream and topped with tropical fruits. Whereas the Victoria tart has a sweet dough tart base blind baked, filled with sauteed pineapple cubes, topped with pineapple cream frozen disc, decorated with praline cream.
These were my least preferred tarts :
The tarts that I loved the most :
Tarte Amandine : Sweet dough tart baked with almond cream, topped with almond flakes.
Tarte Citron : Sweet dough tart with lemon curd and confit lemon slices.
Tarte Bourdaloue : Sweet dough tart baked with almond cream and sliced pears.
Tarte Au Figues : Sweet dough baked with almond cream and sliced figs.
Next Post : Puff Pastry 🙂
Although late, I am still taking these tarts over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday! 🙂
PS: Apologies for the disastrous photos!