By now we all have probably seen the images of baking projects gone wrong. If you haven’t seen this, check it out, sit back and be ready to laugh. http://www.lifebuzz.com/pinterest-fails/
After laughing so hard it brought tears to my eyes, it made me think of all the things that went wrong in pastry school while learning different techniques that I had never tried before. Which then brought more tears to my eyes and fits of uncontrolled laughter and made me call prior classmates with “remember when” stories.
I thought this idea would make a great blog series. A weekly “nailed it” or “failed it” type of project. Obviously my skills may be a little more advanced than the standard home cook, but not as advanced as someone that has spent twenty years in a commercial kitchen whipping up patisserie magic on a daily basis. So I needed to establish some ground rules to keep the weeks consistent. I walked into the library and started to examine all the cookbooks out there. It was overwhelming to say the least.
I needed something a little more challenging than a Better Homes and Garden recipe, but I needed something that consisted of recipes that most home cooks would have access to the ingredients or specialty bake ware. No molecular gastronomy, no liquid nitrogen, no sous vide stuff; I’m sure you get the idea.
I settled on a beautiful book by Pastry Chef, Antonio Bachour. The book was just called Bachour. This has about fifty-five recipes, which makes for a perfect weekly series. The book was designed for professional chefs, but I decided it would give me a needed challenge to see if I could modify the recipes for the home cook, yet still present them as beautifully as he had displayed in the book. For those of you that don’t know of Chef Bachour, he is currently the Pastry Chef of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Florida. He is well known for his pastry art and delicious recipes.
So here we are at week #1, and I’m going to declare “NAILED IT”. The recipe was Chocolate Dulce de Leche Tart. The biggest challenge encountered was the tart dough. He called for the shell to be cooked in a 3” ring mold. I thought if I went into ten of my friends kitchen and asked to see their 3” ring mold, 90% of them would all look at me with a blank stare. It’s not something that is hanging around in a home kitchen. So I tried this a few times with standard tart molds. Most of the molds were fluted molds. Which work perfectly fine for the recipe. Another option was silicone baking tart pans. They also could work, if you have the right size. You want to make sure the mold is deep enough to allow for the filling. After a few tries on the shell, I ended up going with the 3” ring molds just for the presentation.
The next thing I changed was to scale down the recipe. The original recipe yielded 24 servings. I scaled this down to make 6 and made a few minor modifications to the recipe to adjust for the reduction of some key ingredients.
All in all it was a fairly simple recipe. For the decorative top, one could easily use a piece of chocolate from their favorite candy maker. In the kitchen, I tempered chocolate and made the squares.
So I’d say at the end of week one, we nailed it! Give it a try and let us know how you did.
- 1 1/3 oz butter
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 large egg
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 can condensed milk
- 3 1/2 oz milk
- 7 oz cream
- 3 1/2 oz sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 1/2 large egg
- 6 oz 64% chocolate, chopped
- 3 oz 70% chocolate, chopped
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Cream butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Slowly add the eggs, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
- Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder and add to the butter mixture and beat lightly until combined. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before rolling into 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut dough into rounds and place in 3-inch ring molds.
- Refrigerate the finished shells for an hour to let the dough rest, then bake for 20 minutes at 325°
- Place can in a large pot filled with water to about 1 inch above the top of the can.
- Bring water to a simmer and continue to cook over low heat for about 4 hours. Continue to refill the water level as necessary.
- Once done, set aside to cool.
- Bring milk, cream and sugar to a scald in a medium sized pot.
- Whisk yolks and eggs to combine in a small bowl.
- Once the milk is at a scald, pour it over the egg mixture to temper.
- Stir and return the mixture to the pot to continue to cook over low heat until it reaches 160°, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, pour over the chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Chill.
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Fill half of each tart shell with dulce de leche and top with chocolate filling. Bake for 7 minutes.
- Chill for about 2 hours once done baking.