Yeah, it sounds great. And it tastes wonderful. But for the purposes of my tasting luncheon, I have to give these a pass.
I am working on one last dessert item for the sweet section of the meal. I want it to have fruit (preferably seasonal) and I want it to be in some kind of pastry casing that I haven’t used yet elsewhere in the meal. Since I’ve used puff pastry and tassie dough already, that pretty much leaves choux puffs or regular pie pastry. I’m not a good pie pastry maker. I know a lot of otherwise good cooks who don’t do pie pastry well; in my case I almost feel like it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy–I don’t think my pie pastry will come out well, so it doesn’t. Whatever the reason, my piecrusts have always been a study in frustration. A couple of times I’ve made really good ones and I think I’ve got the jinx beat, and then I’ll try the next time using the same recipe and it flops. I think some people are born being able to make good pastry–my sister-in-law Anne is one of those people. Her pies are things of beauty and melting flakiness. My daughter Julie used to have the same jinx on her head that I have, but she worked and worked at it until she overcame it.
Given all this, I was excited to come across a recipe unlike any I had ever seen. It’s called a Sweet Caillat Crust, it’s from France, and it’s supposed to be foolproof, flaky, unable to be overhandled, and easy to work with. The article and recipe are here, if you are interested. So I tried it, and I have to report that I am underwhelmed. It tasted good, was not tough, and was easy to make and to work with. It also, to me, tasted like a cookie. Not what I was going for. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.
So. I had these little tartlet shells (although they taste like little cookies). I probably won’t use them for the tasting lunch, but I did think I would go ahead and test the rest of my fruit tart idea using them as bases.
My idea was to fill the little cases with a vanilla pastry cream, then poached pears (the seasonal fruit I was wanting), and drizzle it with a Coffee Caramel Sauce (for the coffee drinkers) and a Chai Caramel Sauce (for everyone else). I found a recipe for the coffee sauce so I decided to make that, and if it all came together, work on the Chai sauce later.
The good news is that yes, omg, the Coffee Caramel Sauce is delicious–to die for. It plays nicely with the pears and the pastry cream. It is even really, really good with the cookie-tasting pastry. But the bad news is that it just doesn’t work in a mini-size. At one-bite size, the pears don’t come through the other flavors because there’s not room in the pastry cases to put enough pears to give it the flavor. I tested it in a larger size though, and I love the dessert that way. It just needs a larger amount of pears to balance the flavors. So I will definitely use this idea and this dessert at a later time.
So for now, I’m back to being stuck. This coming week I’m going to think about choux puffs. Meanwhile, I have some pastry cream, poached pears, and coffee caramel waiting for me. It’s a rough life.