I have been baking. Quite a lot, actually!
I was planning on making other recipes, but that didn’t happen either.
What have I been doing instead?
Work has been crazy busy. But in a good way. I have been doing the communications and marketing work I have wanted to do for years!
My MS symptoms have been up and down. I have been mostly feeling pretty good, but sometimes not so much. Then I have to conserve energy, and Alpha Bakers is something that doesn’t get the attention I would like to give to it.
More exciting though is I have been teaching baking classes through Adult Continuing Education at my old high school. Teaching has been great, and I will be talking about it.
And, for my 50th birthday, which was back in July, I decided that instead of a big party, I wanted to take a baking class at King Arthur Flour in Vermont. Last Sunday, my mom and sister and I drove two plus hours to Norwich Vermont for their More than a Mouthful: Pastry Miniatures class.
Although the class was not quite what I was imagining (I was thinking petit fours and financiers), the items we made were really good, a little challenging, and I got to geek out with the instructor when she was talking about the different protein / gluten levels in flour.
The first recipe we made was for pasta frolla, which is a press-in tart crust, scented with orange oil.
And some of them had sharp and point edges! My poor sister ended up cutting her finger on one of them and bled all over her side towel and apron. Granted, she admitted that she could cut herself on a dull butter knife, but still.
When I first saw the pans I thought “OMG how cute!” By the end of the day, I was like “OMG no way I am making this tart in tiny tins again!”
So after the whole tartlet tin filling and bleeding thing, our next project was a chocolate almond cream filling.
This was not a cooked pastry cream. We made it in the food processor.
It had butter, sugar, eggs, yes, but also included almond flour and chocolate. And it was baked in the unbaked tartlets.
The filling was really good. I kept eating it raw!
I will make this recipe again. But in a full-sized tart pan, or in the comes in a pack of 4 smaller tart tins. Like these!
Here are the recipes from the Baking Education Center at King Arthur Flour. I tweaked them a little bit based on my notes from the day.
This dough is a middle ground between pie crust dough and Pâte Sucrée
¾ cup (3 oz) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (3 oz) pastry flour
¼ cup (1¾ oz) sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
½ tsp vanilla
optional: 1/8 tsp orange oil, or zest from ½ lemon, orange or lime
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.
- Stir in the egg, and extracts and oil or zest and combine well, until a dough forms.
- Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes, or immediately press into tart pan, then refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling or baking.
Leftover pasta frolla can be rolled into a log and cut into cookies. Bake ~10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Filling – Chocolate Almond Cream
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (3½ oz) sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (4 oz) almond flour
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- In a food processor, combine the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and pulse until just combined.
- Add nut flour and chocolate and pulse until combined.
- Spread into prepped tart shell or refrigerate.
For mini tartlets, fill with ~ 1tsp of chocolate almond cream, bake ~10 minutes at 375 degrees.