Monday, July 19, 2010

Brandied Sour Cherry and Pear Tartlets (Page 780)

RECIPE #1184

  • Date: Thursday, July 8, 2010 -- 10pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our New House!
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

I made this recipe to finish off the Pies, Tarts, and Pastries section of The Book. This recipe falls into a category that I like to call Delicious but Ridiculous. Instead of making one regular size pie, this recipe made 16 individual ones. This not only required special equipment, but also a lot of patience. I started by making a pretty typical pie dough and chilling it. Then I made the filling by dicing some pears and boiling them with dried sour cherries, brandy, water, sugar, and cornstarch. Then the fussiness began. The bottom and top pie crusts needed to be cut from the dough with two different sizes of cookie cutter. Then the bottoms were put into the little tart pans. I then used smaller decorative cookie cutters to cut little windows out of the top crusts. Then using some milk to help them adhere I put the cut-out decorations back on the top crusts. Then I filled the bottom crusts with filling and placed the top crusts on top, using milk and pinching to seal the edges. Then I dusted them with some sugar and baked the little pies until they were done. Reading it now, it doesn't sound too fussy. But in real life there was a lot of rerolling of dough and chilling after every step that made it seem completely ridiculous. The pies turned out pretty good though. My special gentleman loved them. I was slightly less enthusiastic (then again, I was the one who dealt with all the fussiness, so perhaps that's why). I never like pie fillings as much when they are made with dried fruit. A more flavorful, and texturally nicer, cherry filling certainly could have been made from some fresh sour cherries. And were I to make this recipe again, I would definitely make it as one or two large pies instead of 16 little ones. They were cute, but I don't think the cuteness was worth the effort!

The recipe is here.

This was the last recipe in the Pies, Tarts, and Pastries section! I am happy to be done with another section, but sad to see this one go, as I dearly, dearly love pie! When I finish a section I like to identify my top five favorite recipes from that section. Here they are, in no particular order:
  • Three-Berry Pie with Vanilla Cream -- Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries... it's hard to go wrong! The filling was just the right thickness and just the right sweetness. Absolutely delicious!
  • Sweet Potato Pie with Bourbon Cream -- This pie way exceeded my expectations. The flavor from the roasted then pureed sweet potatoes was awesome and the texture of the filling was perfect. It looked like pumpkin pie, but was way better than any pumpkin pie I have ever had. Yum!
  • Carmelized Upside-Down Pear Tart -- Not only was this tart fantastic but it was incredibly easy. This is a recipe that I will come back to again and again in my post-Book cooking. A huge payout for a minimal effort -- definitely a keeper!
  • Baklava -- My special gentleman has this dream that when the project is over I will make fresh croissants and baklava every week. We'll see. Baklava is one of his favorites and he loved this recipe. I, too, was very impressed by it. It is one of the few recipes in The Book that I have already repeated!
  • Mocha Eclairs -- What's not to love? Pastry, filled with mocha cream, then dipped in chocolate -- delicious!
Well, those were my favorite five. Reminiscing has made me hungry for some pastries! I am in a hotel room in small town Connecticut though and it is almost midnight, so pastries might be hard to come by. Oh well!

7 sections down, 14 left to finish!!

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