Sunday, August 9, 2009

Poached Peach & Chocolate Cookie Tart aka Frankentart

So, it seems that I forgot one of the most important pictures. A note for the future, photo of ingredients A, and B, I forgot a shot of the fruit poaching. Regardless, here is a story of one of my forays into the world of baking. However, for me this was something new, something that I had yet to attempt, a tart. I enjoy baking from time to time,but the idea of eating a "whole" of something is far to familiar a concept for me so I go through baking phases. I tend to try something and see if it works and then reproduce and share, sometimes going in blind as was the case with Frankentart which was to be served to company the same day. Here, as an asside, I introduce the "Row vs Single" concept. A friend and myself have a theory that the world is split into a few types of eaters, but specifically there are row eaters and unit eaters. Picture a package of Oreos, or your favourite store bought and packaged cookie. Do you eat one, maybe two, or do you eat a whole row? I, am a row eater and sometimes more.

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Last weekend at the Brickworks Farmers Market I picked up the most wonderful organic Ontario peaches, yellow plums, and apricots, from a farm in Niagara. I had a really great time, as always and had great company in my friend Manda, who I have recently reconnected with under some great circumstances. Also, I met up with one of my close friends, Elliot and his 2 kids who are obsessed (thanks to daddy and Uncle Joel) with the market and more specifically the wildlife that lives in the pond. During the week I had been enjoying the fruit but had a desire to bake with it, and enjoy it in more of a complex way, to combine the flavours it some complimentary way. Some thinking, and a quick Google search and the plan began to form.

And now, on with the show...
Pastry base.
Layer of something chocolate.
Fruit. Poached Peaches and possibly Apricots.

Best laid plans, as they saying goes.

I had never made pastry dough in any form and really didnt know or care what I was getting myself into. Lets go! Ingredients, check. Combined, mixed, blended, check. Chilled, check. Out and ready to roll.
Ready to roll. Yes thats a big bottle of Grey Goose as a rolling pin
Rolling out dough is easy enough and I have done it many times, but I dont like to use traditional kitchen implements, so my vodka bottle was a great substitute. Looking good, nicely holding together, not dry not wet. Great.
The pastry base for the tart, or is it?
Everything was under control until we were ready to bake, and then disaster struck. Not asking for assistance, and not really knowing what I was doing, I used arborio rice as a pastry weight for the first baking cycle. Yes, I know it was a stupid idea, but I had nothing else and the interwebz said rice could be used as a substitute.
This is what failure looks like #1
Into the oven, out of the oven, tried to get the damn rice out, but fuck, no dice.
This is what failure looks like #2
Now here is where the story gets entertaining, in my brilliance I get out my vacuum, thats right vacuum, and try to suck as many rice kernels as I could into the vacuum and as little dough to save what I possibly could. Alas, it wasn't meant to be so I put it aside and started again. Le sigh.
Presto Change-o = Failed attempt vs The Rescue Base
Not much in the house. No graham, no Oreo, not a lot of chilled butter but some room temp, hmmm. What would Bubbie do? Improvise. Figure it out. Cookie. Thats it, cookie base. A quick search and a 4 ingredient recipe for a cookie base for a tart. We have liftoff lets switch gears and get 'er done. Easy as, well, pie. Right? Absolute simplicity, baking at its most basic and essential.

In the meantime it is about time to get to the fruit part of this project. 4 peaches and about a half dozen apricots. Ideally I would have liked to use both in the finished project but not thinking of the size different fruit the apricots turned to mush. Tasty mush however, and I reduced the liquid significantly and added it to the fruit and put it in a mason jar to go over ice cream and reserving a most of the liquid for similar sweetening applications.
Reduced syrup from poaching peaches & apricots with equal parts syrup
Boiling down the liquid from the peaches and nectarines
I cooked the fruit in OJ, water, napoleon brandy(1 for you, 2 for me), vanilla, honey. Boiled it down to about an 1/8th and strained it. There was some serious sampling, im not going to lie, it was sinful and delicious and I cant wait to use it again.
Straining syrup from the pot
The finished fruit - apricot mush and halved peaches (the smell was insane)
Another missed shot was making the ganache but it is an easy process, boil the cream, addsome good chocolate, melt, throw in some butter, easy. While this project was semi-complicated and filled with issues I learned and had fun while doing it. Most importantly I was entertained on a boring stormy Sunday.
Cookie crust is cool enough and the ganache is ready. Combine and chill
Frankentart emerges and is named. How do we feel, what do we think, good job? It doesnt' look the prettiest as there was not enough fruit to make it perfect and it is sort of rustic yet decadent.
The finished product - "Poached Peach & Chocolate Cookie Tart"
The finished product was enjoyable and I believe it was enjoyed. Decadent and rustic was achieved, and I think I will go for one more slice before heading off to bed, just a small slice.

Peace, Love, and Ice Cream.

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