Sunday, October 30, 2011

Just to reassure myself

After the great Vindaloo Disaster, I wanted to prove that I still could cook something new and different, so I turned to a French tart cookbook that I'd picked up at the library's used bookstore a few months ago.

Last week I took the kids to Smyth's Apple Orchard, because it's that time of year when rare types of apples are appearing, and some I can only find if I go out into the country. They also had some nice pears, and I ended up buying a basket. After a week or so, we were sick of eating fresh pears, so I decided to find a nice recipe to cook them into a dessert. I knew the French were better at cooking pears than the English, so I looked until I found a recipe for Tarte Bourdaloue. (It wasn't exactly this recipe, but very similar.) It's poached pears baked in a sweet custard called frangipane, and topped with crumbled cookies.

It was rather a more difficult recipe than I usually make, with lots of steps like "whip the eggs and sugar then add the flour little by little" followed by "boil the milk, then add it little by little along with the ground almonds", so I had a lot of ingredients out and had to be quick grabbing and adding them in sequence. Then I had to cook the frangipane, and they didn't tell you how to know if it was thickening properly; mine started getting a little lumpy, so I grabbed a whisk and began beating it energetically, and that seemed to do the trick. This was also my first time making a pâte brisé, which is basically a shortbread.

Anyway, it all turned out beautifully: my first French dessert! My confidence is restored.


Blogger Priscilla said...

bravo, Mme gourmande

9:32 am  
Blogger Tina said...

oooh that looks gorgeous. I <3 pears! Very good job.

(but the other catastrophe was worth it just to give you a chance to coin that title! ;-)

6:44 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Heheh - I was wondering if anyone would get that title! I happened to be given that book in a bunch of castoffs when someone was cleaning house, and not having anything else available, I read it. Now it's probably only a few Americans would know it.

9:15 am  
Blogger Tina said...

Twas a magnificent pun of the first order! :-) Gene Stratton Porter books were apparently all the rage for a long long time, and different titles are fairly common in American antique shops. I think their decorative covers are probably the main selling point today - at least they are priced for "looks"!

5:42 pm  

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