The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 17, 2013

“The Queen of Hearts made some tarts…”

The beginning of the third week was no disappointment.  We started getting all of the pastry dough out of the freezer that we made the first week and using it.  We used the almond tart dough for the mini tarts, the long flake for the apple tart, and a combination of the two for the cherry tart.  I was also taught that “we do not make pies, we make tarts.”  Tarts have a definite shape difference, with straight sides, and hold up to cutting pieces better and also look better on a plate.  If I sell pies, I have to sell the whole thing intact in a pie tin so that you are not serving a sloppy mess with a crust that falls apart due to the angle of the pie pan.  This definitely gave me food for thought.  Marda also helped me look for a used sheeter that I might be able to procure to start making some of these pastries back in Torrington so that I can keep up the practice.  We will see how it all works out.

Well, on with the rhyme.  “The knave of hearts, he stole those tarts…”  And indeed, at the end of the day we had some tarts all packaged for me to take home tonight.  Suddenly, there was a crash of a cake box and Marda said, “Oh, no!”  The beagle had knocked the box off of the table and was furiously going after one of my strawberry tarts.

That dog is fast.  I pulled her back and saved the two Napoleons that had hit the ground.  (Nothing comes between me and my Napoleons.)  I wanted to throw myself on the ground and lick up the tart, because I had not even eaten one yet.  Needless to say, there were more, but there are two less tarts to the count now.  She has a definite taste for pastry, full of animal fat, but will not eat bologna?  I have to keep an eye on her.

Our day started out baking mini tart shells upside down on a mold so that the gravity pulled them into shape around the mold….very clever.


We then made wonderful tarts, which she first paints the shell with white chocolate for flavor and to protect the crust and then fills with pastry cream or a combination, and then fills with the fruit.  Here is a sample of what we made.

We also then cut up the Napoleons and packaged them.  They turned out quite nicely


And we had time to make apple tart with a lattice crust, and cherry tarts with almond paste streusel topping.
Before baking
After baking with almond topping


These are the cherry tarts

 It was great to make the miniature tarts and learn to make them really beautiful.  They are quite delicious.  The fruit sits on a cream filling that is flavored with vanilla and a little bit of almond.  Now that I have tasted them, my favorite is lemon.

After the fresh tarts were assembled and the others all out of the oven, we then made sour cream coffee cake, that can have fruit in it or not and is a common item in New York bakeries.  It has streusel swirled in the middle.  Should be good.  This week is clearly pies and cakes and we will be working on them the rest of the week.  Working on all the things that may normally be found in a pastry case or offered at a bakery.  I am still amazed by the sheer volume of what we are doing and Marda’s stamina.  Great fun to be had in the next two weeks.

My housemates went on a road trip this weekend to Seattle, but I came home and found a garbage bag of clothes and personal items sitting in the kitchen on Saturday night.  I think that one of them packed in a hurry and then forgot the makeshift suitcase on the kitchen floor….hmmm.  I wonder what he did all weekend.  This should be a good story.