Hesser vs. Sucrée

I better figure out this tart crust dilemma quickly. I’ve volunteered to bake 24 tarts for our neighborhood bake sale next Saturday. Last night, regrettably, the Hesser and Sucrée battle ended, as I was afraid it would, without a clear victor.

The Hesser tart crumbled next to the very durable pate sucrée, but the sweet-savory taste and distinctive texture were far superior. The sucrée was overly sweet, yet bland and insipid – it could be any crust from any tart, but I’m convinced it could weather a 5” drop unscathed. Am I overreaching? I’ve scraped and eaten too many fillings, leaving the lackluster crust behind – and I don’t want my tarts to endure the same fate. I’m vainly searching for a formidable shell that can withstand the rigors of restaurant plating (and neighborhood bake sales) with a flavor worth devouring to the very last crumb.

Almond Tart Comparison

Almond Tart Comparison

Late last night, after the failed attempts above, I made another batch of Hesser’s with an added egg and pate sucrée with 1 oz of oil substituted for some of the butter, combining a little of each in the other. Both were better, but a winner is still eluding me. Maybe my best route is to make one of each and mash ‘em together.

I must find the ideal crust. Not yet defeated, but feeling the results of my quandary in the tightening waistband of my shorts, I recall my Culinary School sucrée recipe, substituting sugar for powdered sugar. That recipe – along with another ideation of Hesser’s – is my homework for tonight. Wish me luck – or a mash-up, it may have to be.

Where is my pastry fairy godmother to save me?

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Weekend Procrastination

Oh no, I’ve caught myself playing in the kitchen to avoid my “to do” list again.

Saturday day:  I baked up batch of apricot, walnut, orange phyllo tartlets.  Mmm…smelling like Christmas, they’re difficult to resist.  I had to limit my dinner to a 100-calorie bag of popcorn after a full day of sampling.

TartsSaturday evening,  I cooked up lemon marmalade from Susan Feniger’s Street Food cookbook. In 2011, after visiting her restaurant, II was smitten with her pucker-worthy marmalade that I found hidden under sour cream and Ukrainian dumplings and attempted my own version, which was lacking tartness and needed tweaking (it was my FIRST canning attempt).  I bought her cookbook the other day and realized the marmalade recipe was included so I had to – just had to – try it. Check out that color.

Lemon MarmaladeFinally, this morning,  I couldn’t get my mind off the final roll of phyllo languishing in the freezer – my mind prodding me with “apple strudel, apple strudel”.  One last trip to the store for granny smiths and raisins and the result –  walnut apple strudel tartlets.

Apple Strudel TartletsIt is officially Sunday evening and I can pat myself on the back for successfully avoiding all projects scheduled this weekend.  I can now walk into the office on Monday stressed over my lack of progress and my growing “to do” list.