Sunday 15 January 2017

Lesson 9: Pâte Sucrée Cannelle / Tarte Fromage Blanc Sucré

First new recipe for a while, and a new basic/simple one to try. However never underestimate my ability to mess up...

Made the pastry, using the flexible spatula as suggested.  Not sure that a wooden spoon wouldn't have worked just as well.  

I own lots of pie weights.  Useful for this one...  Chilled for about 3 hours, was fine to roll out, although I did roll out twice - too big the first time, the second time bits of the walls were too thin, so needed bolstering up with some of the offcuts.  This worked fine.  I used a loose bottom pie dish rather than springform, which was fine.

Baked and cooling.  Where the baking parchment had made folds these were taken by the sides of the pastry, but no harm done.  Remember pie weights get hot... I used the spaghetti spoon to remove them from on top of the baking parchment. 

This is where it really went wrong.  I didn't add the cornflower carefully enough, so had lumps.  I used the hand whisk for the egg whites and they weren't stiff enough - use the proper balloon whisk and the kitchen aid next time.  I also spent time trying to remove lumps from the cheese mixture, which wasn't ever really thick enough - probably since lots of the cornflower was in lumps rather than evenly spread.

Still, looked alright when cooked.

Middle wasn't really thick enough, tasted okay but not very cheesy.  I used Quark for the cheese, maybe something more cheesy next time. And fewer cornflower lumps.  Thankfully it was only for us rather than visitors...

Tips for next time:

  1. Concentrate when splitting eggs, I wasted a couple trying to do this at the same time as the cornflower/cheese mixture.
  2. Save enough of the milk from the cheese mixture and add into the cornflower first before starting the cheese on the hob.  Add enough milk to get all the cornflower lumps out, then add the remainder to the cheese.
  3. Research more cheesy cheese.
  4. Use kitchen aid + balloon whisk on the egg whites, make them really stiff.

Second Attempt - 21st January 2017

Determined to make a better attempt I cooked this again, and it was much better.  I rolled out the pastry to the right size first time, and I used enough milk from the 300ml to mix into the cornflower, the mixture was quite liquidy and smooth - much more like the picture in the book when they are mixed.  When it came time to mix in the combination became thick instantly rather than needing time to cook, it didn't get much thicker during the extra minute or so on the heat.

The balloon whisk got the whites stiffer, I stopped when they stopped getting any thicker...  The end taste was very similar (using ricotta for the cheese) so still fairly plain, but at least the texture was smooth. The topping is still quite soft, but noticeably easier to get a coherent portion cut than last time.

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