A couple of weeks ago I made some doughnuts, and in the process noted that they were basically deep fried balls of brioche dough. Well, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and give it a try as a brioche. It worked, but browned awfully quickly and didn’t rise quite as well as I would have liked. No photos of the actual brioche loaf, but I also made some mini-loaves that were filled with marmalade (and were very tasty) with spare dough in the mini loaf tins I bought a few weeks ago (and are enormous fun for such a small thing).
The weekend was also about the pastry. I’d had a hankering for Bakewell tart for a couple of weeks and then GBBO did one for comic relief a fortnight ago, so everywhere nearby was out of ground almonds. I’d finally got my hands on some, so made some pate sucrée and a half-batch of frangipane. Frangipane is strange stuff (and if it’s really fluffy it becomes creme amandine) in that it’ll set if you bake it for long enough but if you let it cool while baking – by, say, opening the oven door – all it’ll do is set as a lump when it cools, not become textured. And if you get to the state where it sets as a lump it’ll stay molten and runny until it cools. So: get your frangipane light and fluffy, and use a piping bag to get it in the tart case.
I spread a layer of rhubarb jam on the base (otherwise it’s a tarte amandine) and with this one there’s no need to blind bake. You can, of course, if you’re worried about the dreaded soggy bottom, but make sure the case is cool before adding the frangipane or it’ll melt too quickly.
That came out looking like this:
See? Not quite cooked in the middle. But it held, and as it cooled it set. Towards the edges was textured and fluffy, though. Crisp top, too.
Because it’s hard to make a half-batch of pastry I used the rest to make a tarte aux citron on Sunday. I love coming across different recipes for lemon tart because they’re all different in tiny ways. Do you blind bake (yes, the filling is too runny otherwise) or whip the cream before adding it to the eggs/lemon/sugar (if I remember – it’s worth it in creaminess but not essential)? How about ratios of eggs/lemon/sugar/cream? What about using mascarpone instead of cream? Or a mix of lemons & limes? Or oranges? How much zest? Usually I don’t have enough lemons so will add limes, have added mascarpone in the past (it works but sets firm) and try to avoid too much air in the mix or you get a foamy top, or else get loads of air in so it’s consistent. Anyway, yesterday’s tart came out like this:
Barely set (yay!) filling, crisp base and slightly overdone pastry edges. This is because in the final bit of blind baking the pastry shrank and tore on one side, and I didn’t have any offcuts to patch it. Alas! I had to under-fill the case so it didn’t leak out and go everywhere. Disappointing in that respect but otherwise not bad.
And that was my weekend’s baking!