Clearly the confidence I gained from my previous two efforts went to my head, otherwise I’d have gone for something a little less ambitious:
The inspiration this week was a baking competition at work. I put this together on the weekend so that if my legendary baking skills failed me, I’d have time to whip up a plan B.
Not that anything would go wrong.
Let’s start at the beginning though. The last time I made something pastry based was way back in secondary school in Home Economics. (This should give you an idea of how old I am – do schools even do Home Economics and cooking classes anymore? ). Yet even though it was such a long time ago, I still remember one very interesting lesson. The cooking class followed on from a very muddy game of rugby for physical education and I remember looking across the table at someone else whose hands were still muddy. After kneading his pastry, his hands were clean, especially under the fingernails.
I made a point of steering well clear of his work when it came to tasting. oO
So, after washing my hands, I put together my ingredients for the tart:
Unfortunately the recipe I used wasn’t very clear about how to mix pastry properly. After adding the second egg and second teaspoon of water, the pastry really wasn’t binding together very well. I vaguely recalled adding small amounts of water in the past to help pastry bind together, but how much? Another teaspoon? A tablespoon? Should I just hook it up to a hosepipe? It was mildy frustrating. I settled on adding a teaspoon of water each time until the pastry started to get slightly tacky to the touch and then popped it in the fridge:
The almond sponge filling proved a little easier and mixed together in a way I was happy with. I think this is the point where I made a fatal mistake. The recipe called for the pastry to be partially baked before the sponge mix was added and when I took the pastry out of the oven, it looked very close to being done. Instead of following my instinct, I stuck to the recipe, baking times and all:
The result was not entirely successful. The pastry turned out over done and very solid – not very nice at all. -.- When it came to the almond sponge centre, I think things went a little better. It was fairly moist – possibly a little too moist but baked properly. All in all, I think if I’d managed to get the pastry to a satisfactory point, I’d be chalking this one up as a “win”. Pastry is definitely something I need to practice more before I start making it for anyone else. Perhaps part of the problem was the way I mixed it together: