Have you ever shame-posted? No idea what the concept stands for? Ok, some excellent bloggers have admitted to bad picture days, in the same way most of us will have a bad hair day once in a while. Which reminds me that I need to book a hairdresser's appointment - in the Marais, that is, in order to preserve French glamour (overrated? You decide, in the comment section!). Shame-posting. It's when the post you wrote sucks so much you keep it deep down in the archives of the unpublished, and post it later on, knowing that there will be a couple of more recent posts which will screen off the rout. Several factors may combine: the unsexiness of the veggie used, and the terrible lighting in the room. In a word, do not attempt to blog about brussel sprouts after 11pm, however good it was. Not if you don't want people massively cancelling their RSS subscription and turning their eyes away, squirming in dismay and pity.
Why am I telling all this crap about shame posting? No idea.What? Shame-posting? Haha!
I'm showing me a little shame. Honest, I am.
"So much depends upon a blue crock pot", as WCW said once.
So, this tart. It's great. It's what I'm trying to seduce my future roommates with. Delphine, mon chou, let me know if I had any luck. Delphine - let's call her D to preserve her anonymity - works with me and misses French pastries, bless her. She is also always keen to give something new a shot. In other words she is my new guinea pig, and bless (bis repetita placent) her cotton socks, not a tremendously critical one at that. We like an easily won audience. We are lazy.
I had this recipe for a pear tart with a kind of frangipane cream at the bottom lying around in my notebook, and the reason why it stood out was the suggestion to add crushed pecans in the crust. That talks to me big time (ça me dit grave). The original recipe is French, therefore I had to convert everything into cups and tbsp, and nothing worked out so as usual, please ignore my proportions and use your imagination.
Make a "brisée" crust by sanding with the tip of your fingers 5/3 c of AP flour, a fattish 1/3 of a cup confectioner's sugar, a couple of pinches of salt, and a stick and 2 tbsp of butter. It's easier if the butter is at room temp. To that mix, add the precise following quantity of crushed pecans. You have bought a 5 oz sachet of "Candied Pecans (Lightly Sweetened)" from Trader Joe's. You have eaten about two handfuls of pecans with D at work. About half a handful on your way back home. Now, from what is left in the bag, save 16 whole halves, and roughly chop the rest. The chopped bits go in the crust mix, the whole ones will decorate the surface of your pie. Add a little cold water (huh, a tbsp perhaps? I eyeball it - je fais ça au pif), and gather the dough into a ball. Pop it in the fridge while you make your almond cream, turn your oven on at 320°F.
The proportions for the cream are mostly random again (doing penance right now - putting on my camel hair shirt as we speak). Combine a heaped 1/3 of a cup of confectioner's sugar with a smallish cup of almond flour and a teaspoon of corn starch. Add a whole egg, whisk it in, add 1/2 a stick of butter, melted, a pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla extract, and whatever you managed to salvage from the fabulous and glossy greek yogurt you bought earlier on that day, I'd say three heaped tbsp. Cream/buttermilk/half and half would do too. I think.
This is more of a "in your face" kind of shot.
Press the crust dough straight inside the tart pan with your tiny fists, stab it a couple of times with a fork (chourinez-la deux trois fois à la fourchette), and blind bake for 20 minutes.
Pour the almond cream on the bottom, add two pears cut in eighth in a pretty pattern and arrange the pecan halves as stylishly as you can manage. FYI, I should have used canned pears instead of rock-hard ones from the crap greengrocer (le marchand de fruits et légumes nul à chier). They felt like quinces and they weren't by any means tender after 35' in the oven.
Pop the whole thing back in the oven for 35 more minutes or until you are happy with the look of it. Let it cool, subway it to Brooklyn, try to seduce your new flatmates.
Pick me! I'm a great roommate!