Saturday, April 4, 2015

Failures Abound!

So, not to brag, but I've actually gotten fairly decent at cooking. The long stretch since my last post is a testament to most things working out. Or if something didn't work out, at least it wasn't hilariously bad. And the occasions where it WAS hilariously bad were so infrequent that I didn't tend to have my camera ready.

Well fear not. My culinary hubris has gotten the better of me and I have a new collections of failures to share.

First and foremost, the fruit tart.

So Wegmans does this amazing fruit & custard tart. I used to splurge and get the tiny $5 versions. The ones in this picture are probably at least $30.

My mom was awesome and made me a homemade version for my birthday. I drove 5 hours to come home, walk in to be hugged and fussed over, and in that 5 minutes of motherly attention, my mom burned the which point she turned from June Cleaver into this.
I should have taken it as an omen. But honestly, once it had the custard and enough ice cream, you didn't mind the charred parts.

So it's actually a straight forward recipe. I didn't have a tart pan, but my mom assured me I could use anything.  The dough is just flou, butter, and an egg. HOW EASY IS THAT? 3 ingredients. I premeasured the butter, and it's hard to screw up counting ONE EGG....but somehow I must have miscounted the scoops of flour because my "dough" ended up like this.
I swear I sneezed and lost half of it. I tried adding a little moisture to get it to work together, but it remained stubbornly granular.  I decided I must have done it right, and it was the dough's fault for not looking right. So I said to hell with it and forced it into the pie plate.

Covered it in foil and baked it. Called my mom while it was baking and was politely grilled about how I could screw up measuring 2 cups of flour. (The 1 cup was dirty so I did several 1/2 cup scoops.....clearly just several too many). It actually did fine until I took the tin foil off for the last few minutes.

At which point I swore like my momma taught me.
I then commence to make the custard. I paid insane levels of attention knowing it could burn quickly and I couldn't risk BOTH elements of the tart sucking.

During all this, I had fruit thawing in the sink. As you can see in the first picture, the fruit should be vibrant, diverse, and bursting with color. But fresh fruit is expensive, especially in March, so I made do with frozen. Granted it doesn't quite have the same "Wow" factor.
In fact, it kind of looks (and feels) like something a butcher shop would throw out. I threw in cornstarch and whatever i could to dry it out and make it look more alive, but nothing short of glitter was fixing that. (Marketing Thought: Do they make food glitter?)

Also, between the tart, the custard, and the fruit, my kitchen is starting to look like a warzone. I just kept slowly shoving stuff to the left to make room, progressively knocking stuff into the sink like a broken conveyor belt of chaos.

Anyway, custard actually turned out quite well. I chiseled out the burnt parts of the crust and assembled my masterpiece. The picture in the cookbook was this:
....and I had this.
Granted no one sells "food porn", but if they did, I'd be lucky to get $1.99 at a truck stop for that sucker. My boyfriend, the "Human Garbage Disposal" was even hesitant to try it. But I'd spent so much time on it that I was determined to make it work. I buried it in ice cream and whipped cream was pretty good. The crust was dry, but it was like a shortbread cookie so it still tasted good. The fruit consistency was terrible, but mixed with the custard it wasn't as noticeable.  Still worth getting fresh though.

Worth the effort?: If I'd done the dough right, had fresh fruit, and the right tart pan.....yeah actually. And the custard is a double batch where the other half keeps well. We mixed blueberries in it later in the week for an easy dessert.