Lesson 17: Tarts

After weeks of non-stop savory, savory, savory, finally we had our first...

 I am a connoisseur of raw dough. I've spent many years refining the technique of snatching inconspicuous pieces of pie dough when my dad's back is turned. Today, my skills must have been a little rusty, though, because my pastry professor caught me munching and wagged her finger at me with a face that clearly meant, "How pathetic!" Hm. A little embarrassing.

In spite of my fixation on dough foraging, I managed to glean some tidbits that will help make your dough superb, whether you're a mature adult who possesses this new-fangled thing called "self-control" or a...hedonistic glutton.

1. unlike with breads, you want to avoid the formation of gluten, which makes the dough hard; so we had to keep kneading to a minimum
2. there are three types of tart dough:
- sucrée (sweet dough)
- sablée (crumbly, cakey offshoot of sucrée made with the butter creamed first instead of "cut" into the dough)
- brisée (all butter basic pie dough; used for both sweet and savory tarts)

We also talked about variations on a basic fruit tart, which I decided to practice today at home...
- you can replace part of the flour with another dry ingredient like cocoa or almond flour
- you can add essences or chocolate to the pastry cream after you've made it
- you can infuse the pastry cream with citrus or spices as you heat the milk

I tend to think normal fruit tarts are too sweet and soggy, so I decided to add some salt and some crunch to these babies.

And so, I present two jazzed up fruit tarts (all made with sucrée dough and pastry cream):

1. Mango Mint Tart:
- I put whole mint leaves in the milk I used to make the pastry cream (but fished them out before mixing in with the rest of the ingredients)
- after assembling, I put more chopped fresh mint on top
- I also added toasted and slightly salted pumpkin seeds (I would probably add some other kind of nut in the future, but nuts are sooo expensive in Buenos Aires...)

2. Kiwi Ginger Tart
- again, infused the milk with a small piece of fresh ginger that I then discarded
- on top, I put minced ginger that I fried in a little bit of salted butter

I'm saving these pretty things for some other pretty things- Genna, Caroline and Nicole- who arrive starting TOMORROW! 
Tarts for some not-tarts! 

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