Friday, October 22, 2010

A good tart can be easy

While I would’ve given this Trusty myself, I think the last picture speaks volumes

A good tart can be easy

A double entendre for a post title always attracts attention, doesn’t it? But, cooking-wise at least, it can ring true. A couple of weeks ago, my team at work decided to host a morning tea for Pink Ribbon Day, which raises money and awareness of breast cancer, the second most common cancer in Australian women. I decided very early on to make Tobie Puttock’s salted caramel and chocolate tart from the September issue of delicious.

Careme dark chocolate pastry
I’d never made a tart before but, having recently acquired a tart pan, decided to give it a go. And, as the post title suggests, I found it surprisingly easy. I guess I found it even easier having to use the Careme dark chocolate shortcrust pastry, which comes ready rolled. It was divine. I had a little bit left over, so tried making a mini tart with it, but I could have turned the leftover into biscuits to go with icecream.I get nervous making caramel. It seems to take forever and I never think it’ll work out. But then, the syrup that was virtually clear just a moment ago, will suddenly start to colour and caramelise. I love salted caramel. I was first introduced to it via a salted caramel macaron. Who would’ve thought that the sweet, gooey caramel that then gets an unexpected salty hit would work? But it does; just gorgeous.

A slight flaw - the caramel is
pushed out to the sides
Throwing it together was simple enough. But here I will admit a flaw. You would’ve already seen that I’ve rated this recipe Triumph. I’ll explain why in a moment, but I’ll be honest and say that I think I made a mistake when setting the caramel. If you take a look at the image of the tart in delicious, you might be able to make out two distinct layers on top of the pastry; the caramel on the bottom and the chocolate on the top. When I poured the chocolate on top of the caramel layer, I don’t think I’d left the caramel enough time to set, causing the denser chocolate to sink to the bottom in some places and pushing some of the caramel out to the sides. It didn’t look pretty. But it sure did taste amazing. The flavours, especially that salted caramel, just melted together in the mouth.
The presented product
For me to give a recipe a Triumph rating, I used to think it needed to be virtually flawless. I don’t often achieve this and I would have given the tart a Trusty rating myself. However, when I explained to a work colleague what went wrong, he said, ‘but that’s just cosmetic. I bet you it would still taste exactly the same’. And he’s right. Looking over at the plate that once held my tart, I thought that perhaps I’m too hard on myself. My work colleagues absolutely devoured it, and I had comments on how delicious it was and requests for the recipe for the rest of the day.

This says it all.
So I’m going to lighten up. Unlike the tart – it was dense, and very rich. In future, I will give a new rating to recipes that are truly exceptional, that are flawless in every way. When you see a recipe given the rating Transcendent, you’ll know I’ve done something really remarkable. I look forward to plating up my first one.

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