Today was about pate sucrée and it’s uses.
Chef Graeme took us for the demo again, so I have a lot of notes again.
He started off with making the pastry. Very soft butter was creamed with the sugar with a whisk until pale. Then eggs, beaten with a little salt and vanilla essence, were added bit by bit and whisked in. A little lemon zest was mixed in, then the flour was added and gently incorporated. The dough was then kneaded 10 times on the work bench and it was obvious just how soft it was. It was then wrapped and chilled for at least 15 minutes to firm up.
He used the pastry to line 4 tart tins for the different tarts he was making and blind-baked the pastry tarts.
He started with an apple tart (or tarte aux pommes). He diced some bramley apples to make a compote and cooked them with butter, sugar and vanilla. He added half of the apples at the start and the rest half way through so that some would be cooked to a purée and some still in chunks. Once this was cooked and cooled he spread it into one of the pastry cases. Then he peeled, cored and finely sliced some eating apples on a mandolin (the cutting implement, not the musical instrument). These were arranged in overlapping slices on top of the apple tart and a 2nd ring of apple slices for the centre. He made a little rose out of some cut apple slices for the very centre. The apple slices were brushed with clarified butter, sprinkled with sugar and the tart was baked in a hot oven to brown the apples. Here is a picture of the chef’s apple tart:
The chef filled another pastry case with creme patissiere, topped it with fresh fruit and glazed it with apricot glaze:
Into the other 2 pastry cases the chef spread some almond cream – a blend of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds, which we’ll be making in a later class. On top of one he arranged some sliced poached pears and a few blueberries. On the other he placed some black cherries that had been soaked in liqueur. Once baked, he sprinkled flaked almonds on the pears and pistachio on the cherry tart:
In the practical we were just making the apple tart. Chef Nicolas took us for the practical again.
Rolling out the pastry, it was noticeable how soft the pastry became very quickly. It was very easy to tear which meant that it might need to be rolled again, all the while getting softer and even harder to handle! It was a relief to get it rolled and into the flan ring so that I could chill it again. It baked well in the oven and looked pretty good.
The apple compote was straightforward to make and tasted and smelt good. Slicing the eating apples had great potential for injuries since the mandolin slicer does not differentiate between apples and the hand holding them. Fortunately, and surprisingly, no one lost part of their hands on the mandolin, probably due to the chef’s good instruction and attentiveness.
This is my finished apple tart: