Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Week At Pastry Boot Camp and a Strawberry Fig Tart

That's right boys and girls, a whole week of nothing but flour and sugar and French pastries. This post will be a bit picture heavy, but I promise, there will be a recipe in the end. You see, I've just completed the Pastry Bootcamp at the French Pastry School where under the tutelage of the wonderful Chef Kristen Ryan, I learned a bunch of back pocket recipes that I'll most definitely be making in the future. The most fantastic brioche recipe, rich and fabulous Chocolate financiers:

Chocolate Financiers

Fantastic bread brushed with a beer crust:

Beer Bread

Here's Chef showing us how to shape the loaves before proofing:

Beer Bread

A smooth vanilla ice cream that shames all others, shaped into perfect little quenelle shapes over a warm chocolate lava cake:

Chocolate Lava Cake

A classic fruit tart with the crust painstakingly shaped by hand with the help of my friend and partner Joy:

Joy Making Tart

The best pate de fruit I've ever had (kind of like marmalade candy), perfect little Madelines with just a slight hint of lemon:


And lots and lots more. And every day, right after coming home after hours and hours in the kitchen, I'd get right back into it. How can I not when there are figs at the market?


I don't know if I'm allowed to share the recipes I learned in class with the world yet, but until I know for sure, I'll leave you with one of the recipes I made on my own. It's got fresh figs from the market and strawberries from the last picking expedition:


It's a slightly different crust then the one from the last post, and it was quite a bit easier to work with. The hazelnut pastry cream and the wonderful fruits made for a unique and very tasty treat.

Strawberry Fig and Hazelnut Tart

Strawberry Fig and Hazelnut Tart
via Martha Stewart Magazine, June 2010
Makes one 10-inch tart.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

3/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Armagnac or other brandy, such as Cognac
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces figs (about 7), trimmed and halved lengthwise
8 ounces strawberries (1 1/2 cups), halved if large

Make the crust:
- Pulse flour, granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined.
- Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds.
- Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water evenly over mixture and pulse until mixture just begins to hold together (it should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse.
- Press dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight.
- Roll dough to a 14-inch circle (1/8 inch thick) on a floured surface. Fit dough into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch fluted round tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with edges of pan using a knife. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove weights, and bake until set, about 5 minutes more. Let cool. Leave oven on.

Make the filling:
- Pulse hazelnuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add sugars, zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add butter, Armagnac, eggs, and vanilla; pulse until mixture is almost smooth.
- Spread filling evenly into tart shell. Top with figs and strawberries. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees; bake until set and dark brown on top, about 1 hour more. Garnish with whipped cream.


Carolyn Jung said...

I've been going crazy with figs in the past week. They are so good this season. This tart is beyond gorgeous. Just might have to try my hand at making something this lovely.

Joy said...

I'm glad you didn't post a pic of me in my hat :D.

Anna said...

Carolyn, if you do make it, let me know how it comes out :D

Joy, I was good, but you posted ucky pics of me. Not nice!

Tara @ Smells Like Home said...

oh goodness does this tart look delicious! i've never baked with fresh figs before but have been very curious and this just may be the recipe to start me off. thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

This tart has become a bit of a favourite in our household. I make a crumbly cinnamon pastry that just melts in your mouth and use the zest of a whole orange, with hazelnuts orange just seems to scream delicious.