Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Russian Apple (improvised pear) Tart

Russian Pear Tart
Yesterday, my instructor decided to toss a bunch of random stuff together in a tart that she decided would taste delicious. Then, she called it a Russian Apple Tart. Not sure what makes it so Russian, but I couldn't really find anything like it online. Maybe the brandy? Does brandy automatically make something Russian? It's a mystery! 

Anyhow, we started with lining a tart shell with some basic short dough, 1-2-3 Cookie Dough. A basic building block in the kitchen for recipes, it contains sugar, butter, vanilla extract, eggs and cake flour. Short dough contains a high percentage of fat, which produces a very tender and crumbly crust. 

We popped this crust in the oven to pre-bake. How this usually works is you blind bake it- you dock the crust by poking holes throughout with a fork, line the crust with some aluminum foil/parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or uncooked beans. Once the crust seems to bake and hold it's shape, you can take the foil and weight out to let the bottom finish baking.

At the beginning of this week, my partner and I baked a vanilla sponge cake. We sliced a piece a 1/2 inch thick,

and after spreading a thin layer of apricot jam on the bottom of the baked and cooled pie tart, we placed the sponge cake on top of that. Then we soaked the cake with a brandy and simple syrup liquid. 


On top of this, we spread some pastry cream. No, we're not done yet!

 Because this is the part where the magic happens, incorporating the caramelized fruit into the mix. We meant to use apples, but were all out in the kitchen, so we sliced and sauteed three pears mixed with granulated sugar and vanilla bean instead. 

Ta-da! One last step! 

We prepared some streusel to crumble on top. Just a butter, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and oats mixture, baked until crispy. Then, crumbled on the tart, like so!

 In case you were wondering, yes, it was one big crumbly mess to cut. But pretty good! Again, note the lack of chocolate here, and myself reporting this as g-o-o-d. Unusual. Branching out? Good for me! (Don't worry chocolate, you'll always be my go-to dessert! Heart!)

If you're interested in any of the recipes along the way (sponge cake, pastry cream, streusel), let me know and I'd be happy to post it. This was just a wacky post of how to create a dessert out of stuff you've got lying around the kitchen. Don't you feel the creative juices flowing now?! Maybe you should go make up a dessert of your own! (Don't be afraid to use that brandy, either....)


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