Tuesday, January 06, 2009
twd: french pear tart
mise-en-scene: tart, tea, and poetry in my study/guest room
As much as I love being on vacation and spending time with my family, cooking and baking with my Mom, brother L, and Dad in my Mom's lovely and well-stocked kitchen, there's something comforting about being back in my own kitchen. I know exactly where my kitchen tools are, am attuned to the whirl of my KA, and have already established, in the brief year I've lived in this home, certain muscle memory: a long reach for the spatula and a twirl to the island.
Neither of my TWD creations turned out as I wished when I made them away from home--and I fully accept all responsibility for their less-than-perfection status. Perhaps the fact that I had a cold and would've stayed on the couch watching seasons 4 and 5 of the Gilmore Girls with my Mom the entire visit (after I gave her said DVD's) had a little something to do with my lackluster TWD performance.
Regardless, I was anxious--and nervous--for the first TWD of 2009: the French Pear Tart, chosen this week by the illustrious Dorie Greenspan herself. I wanted the tart to be perfect, and I wanted to devote an afternoon to creating this masterpiece. However, since I indeed *did* spend a large portion of my vacation watching GG, I did *not* spend much time preparing for my three week Poetry class, which started Monday morning. And so, my baking conditions were not ideal, but evolved around my syllabus creation and reading of classic British poetry, hearkening back to my own halcyon undergraduate days...
And so, last night at 9:00 pm I decided to create the components of the tart. Crust: check, though I had to use 1/4 c. extra fine baking sugar instead of powdered sugar because of a supply issue. Almond cream: check, though I substituted Maker's Mark for the rum because of a supply issue. Poached pears: check, though I had to use Meyer lemons because of, you guessed it, a supply issue. The pears, however, were planned long in advance; my dear mother gave me 3 pears from her farmer's market stash to elevate the tart to locavore status. I stashed the crust in the freezer and the other components in the fridge and went to bed, with visions of all the tasks pending dancing in my head.
This afternoon, in between a study of the sonnet, I prebaked the crust, assembled the tart, and baked it to golden lusciousness. What a comely dessert! And now, as another day of poetry and kitchenry comes to a close, a slim sliver of French Pear Tart and a mug of French Earl Grey Tea awaits. Ahh, buttery. Ahhh, pear and almond merging into one. Somehow, I managed something closer to perfection this time, and found a truly impressive and stunningly simple dessert.
the finished tart
Thank you, Dorie, for continuing to inspire with your pastry poesy. And, Happy Anniversary to TWD! Here's to a delicious 2009.
a perfect cookbook, a perfect slice, and a pretty French plate