Frozen Pecan Tart
I really need to write about the process a whole lot closer to the actual event. Sigh. I do sometimes worry that should I be randomly chosen to partake in a dementia test, I would most probably find myself leaving the doctors office with a prescription in hand. The good news is that I love learning new things. I love change. A fortunate attribute, ahem. So, on to this Frozen Pecan Tart. Up until this bake, I don't recall eating a pecan tart, let alone baking one. Let's just say that I don't think this will be the last of either event. It was pretty simple to pull together and I only missed one thing this week - vanilla essence from the filling! And I learned a new method for pastry - capital A-Amazing people. I was actually giggling with excitement at the wonder of Rose. Life changing stuff (and I truly mean that).
So we make a Pate Sucree (other wise known as a sweet cookie tart crust). No photos of this - essentially just picture a food processor with a lump of dough in it. The difference between Pate Sucree and flaky pastry is that the former has the express objective of having no visible butter lumps in it, and the flaky pastry is littered with them. In the former, these butter lumps result in holes, in the latter they result in layers.
Rose instructs that you should refrigerate the dough for an hour before rolling it out. As luck would have it, I happened along a post from Dorie Greenspan about not chilling the dough before rolling it out. Hallelujah. More life changing stuff. I figured that given I don't live anywhere even approaching tropical heat, I would trial this on the Frozen Pecan Tart. Usually I do everything exactly as Rose instructs (apart from the bits I stuff up) the first run through of the recipe, but somehow the thought of chilling the dough and then waiting half an hour for it to come back to a rollable temperature seemed at odds with just rolling it right then and there. Rose's tip is that half an hour in the fridge will be fine to then roll. More than half an hour and you could be looking at upwards of 40 minutes to get something rollable. And given baking is something that fits in around life, any chance to cheat time is a winner.
I did wonder how not letting it rest would affect the final product. Someone with more time and patience and better attention to detail must have tested that somewhere on the internet?
So I rolled the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap/glad wrap/cling film (it does amaze me that there are so many names for this stuff). It was fantastic to roll. Especially with the Pastry Wands - not in the photo shot, but can I just repeat how amazing they are.
When I read this method as part of the Beta Bakers, I just scratched my head and thought, Rose has completely lost the plot - that is far too difficult. But you know what? Completely not hard. Easiest method ever for getting pastry into the tart tin. So the idea is that you take your rolled plastic encased pastry sheet (I think Rose cuts it to shape, but I didn't have the right size template to do so) and smooth it over the base of an 8 inch cake pan. I think mine was 9 inch, but no bother because fortunately my tart tin was bigger than that. Smooth down the sides, take the top sheet of plastic off and then put the tart tin on top like a hat.
Tate and Lyle. I am not complaining at all. Given I live in the land of golden syrup this is a breeze to source compared to corn syrup. And in my biased opinion a lot tastier.
The liquid filling is kind of a golden syrup custard and once it gets to 71 degrees Celsius it gets sieved before pouring into the tart.
Rose then instructs to bake until it shimmies slightly. Giggle. Or 15 to 20 minutes. Or 88 - 93 degrees Celsius. I went with all three.
The tart is then cooled and topped with chocolate ganache drizzle topping (I didn't do that - but will next time). Then, frozen before serving. Which we did. We sliced into this on December 30th. Right before we decided to have an impromptu dinner on New Years Eve with friends. Which meant I had to make another dessert for New Years Eve! This tart was sampled by quite a few people, including the NYE guests. Feedback was good from all - there was some serious eye rolling and groaning going on. My personal preference was for the room temperature version (after being frozen). I preferred the heightened taste of the warmer tart and after a few days frozen and then defrosted, the filling was firmer.
One other question I had for those that have baked a lot of pecan tarts, is about the toasting of the nuts prior to baking. I kind of found myself missing that toasted flavour... but only for about a second. There was enough going on here to keep me more than happy.
Funnily enough, Chris and I went to dinner a few nights later and Pecan Tart was on the dessert menu... Chris declined - he thought the risk was too high that it wouldn't be as amazing as Rose's Frozen Pecan Tart. Dessert was passed over completely.
As a side note, the NYE bonus dessert was another pastry tart - a pate sucree base with frangipane and poached spice pears. I have made this for the past 3 out of 4 NYE, and this was the best. I did the pastry with Rose & Dorie's combined brilliance and then I toasted the blanched unsliced almonds before grinding them for the frangipane. I love that five bakes into The Baking Bible, it is already transforming, for the better, my old favourites.
The next bake is Chocolate Cuddle Cake. The post for that is definitely late. I am in Australia for a wedding which precludes baking. Chris has volunteered to bake and blog - so far, he has made the ganache. Apparently Rose instructs that this should be made first. And so it was. On Sunday. Now Tuesday, Chris is awaiting the arrival of a flower nail to complete the baking...