We haven’t started our pastry unit yet (June 10, but who’s counting?) though in the past couple of lessons we’ve had various regional French tarts included in our daily recipes.
Perhaps some of you already know my aversion to rolling out pie crust. As in, my personal motto is “life’s too short to roll out pie crust.” Any pie I’ve made in the past few years has most likely had a store bought crust (sorry, Mo!) because every attempt I’ve made to do it from scratch has only proven an exercise in total futility. Yet I find myself gravitating toward being the person in my group to do these recipes. Maybe it’s a personal quest to triumph over something that usually defeats me. Maybe it’s one of those elements in my life that undoes me but that I can’t seem to let go of.
Or maybe it’s that when you have a nice, large, cool, stainless steel surface on which to roll out dough, it’s no longer quite so futile. I recommend anyone struggling with pie crust to go out and get a pool-table sized, stainless steel work surface, immediately.
Speaking of tarts, it’s rare that I encounter a combo of ingredients that is really surprising to me. I’ve eaten out a lot, and in a lot of countries, and frankly I’ve watched a lot of food TV. But our Provençal Tartes Aux Blettes today kind of blew my mind: swiss chard, gouda cheese, rum-soaked currants, apples, pine nuts, currant jelly, and heavy cream. My sister is barfing right now, but I tell you, it was delicious.
Culinary school tip of the day!: If you have a pie crust recipe that requires chilling before rolling out, don’t roll it into a ball for chilling, but press it into roughly the shape that you’re going to be rolling it into before you chill it. I.e., today I hand-pressed my tart dough roughly into a 6″ circle before chilling it. Then when you go to roll it out, you’re halfway there.