Thursday, January 8, 2009

Near Disaster Tart

You know how sometimes you'll be in the middle of something that seems to be going terribly wrong and wonder what on earth you did to deserve such karmic punishment, to only later find out that it was really a secret lesson, a blessing in disguise? This was my karmic tart. 

Behold, the Near Disaster Peanut Butter Honey Caramel Tart:

I saw this recipe in the newest edition of Bon Appetit magazine in an article about food trends for 2009. Apparently, peanut butter desserts are the next big thing. In the interest of research I took it upon myself to test this trend out.  Things began to fall apart almost immediately. After blind baking the tart crust without any filling, I went to remove it from the oven and my hand slipped, causing the bottom of the tart pan to separate from the sides and a portion of the side crust to break. Total disaster was avoided, most of the crust was intact but there was no way it was going to be a perfect tart now.  The next pitfall was a complete oversight, as (oh did I mention this was New Year's Eve and I had 2 hours after work to make a three course meal) I poured in the delicious honey-peanut-caramel filling into the shell without a thought of the broken crust. Thank Jebus that I had put the tart on a sheet pan because 10 minutes later there was my delicious filling oozing out the sides and bottom of the tart pan. My helpful husband built a hasty tin foil tart coozie and I scraped up the caramel ooze. Back in the oven it went, but duh! it was now cooking the caramel after a good 5 minute cool down and the filling, while tasty, was more old Snickers bar than gooey tart filling. I finished the next two layers of peanut butter whipped with icing sugar and dark chocolate ganache well enough, and everyone ate their piece, but it was far from what I'd imagined it to be when looking at the photo. 

Like any good religion-free soul searcher I wondered what lesson there was for me in this tart fiasco.  First off, I prefer pie to tart, that must now go without saying. Unless it's one of those amazing mini strawberry tarts that one gets in France. Second, like all luscious and enjoyable things in life baking cannot and will not be rushed, hurried, or otherwise sped up. This is not a speedy activity and never should be. One cannot rush perfect pie. Of course, this leads to the third Lesson of the Tart, perfection is an illusion. To seek perfection is an exercise in terminal frustration. It's true, there's a lot of Zen in pie-making...

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