I can't tell you where I first saw this book but it had some fantastic reviews. And looked pretty neat. It looked like a course, like it had lots of tips and was essentially a collection of lessons on how to prepare precise pastries. Looked like a good starting point for me. So I ordered it. And I'm really glad I did. I am finding it really useful and it has tutorials of many of the recipes. For each recipe there is a tips section at the end to give you a heads up on some potential problem areas, as well as a few notes on how to evaluate your success.
Although I've had the book for nearly a year, I hadn't tried a single recipe out of it. To be honest, I was a little intimidated. It all looks so precise and so snazzy and ... well ... a whole lot fancier than I was able to do. I'm not trained in the culinary arts for crying out loud! I just wanted to look at the pretty pictures and dream I could do it ...
But I joined Daring Bakers and I had a challenge. I had to make Florentines. There was a recipe for Florentines in my fancy-scary-amazing book. So I broke down the wall of fear and got into it. The recipe for the finished biscuit is here, so I'm just going to give you the Pâte Sucrée in this post.
Pâte Sucrée (from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts)
Makes pastry for two 8- to 9-inch tarts
250 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 grams confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
500 grams cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Place the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat to just combine, then raise the speed and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.
This is after adding the last egg. It looked like this after each addition.
When the eggs are well incorporated, turn off the motor. Add the flour and baking powder all at once. Turn the machine on to slow speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, beat until the flour is just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
Using the spatula, scrape the dough from the bowl. Gather the dough together and form it into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic film and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes of up to 1 week before rolling it into the shape required. The dough may also be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
I rolled it out a quarter of this to make my Florentines and blind baked it.
To blind bake, dock the rolled dough with a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with dry rice or beans (I used pinto beans). Place it in a 400F oven and cook until it looks chalky-white. This helps the pastry retain its shape.
And there we go! Easy-peasy!
So what is your favorite thing to do with blind-baked pastry?