Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why I cook

Aunty Belle over at the The Front Porch, asked me to make something from Dorrie Greenspan's beautiful book, Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. I accepted her request because I like to challenge myself. The recipe she chose was, for this book, most likely fairly simple. A warm Chocolate Raspberry Tart. Made from bittersweet chocolate with raspberries baked into the filling, it sounded like a winner. Made by Pierre or Dorrie, I'm sure it is a winner. My first time making it? A leetle rough around the edges.
OK, first let's talk about my mistakes. Rolled my Pâte Sucrée too thin. What was I thinking trying to put whipped cream on a warm tart? Stupid. A little too much butter on my tart pan. I'm not even sure it needed it with the smooth surface. Now, I image googled this particular recipe after I was done to see if the surface of my tart matched how it was supposed to turn out. Not much luck there. I'll have to ask Aunty for what the book's version looked like but I'm just not happy with my results. If you'd like to give it a shot, the recipe for Warm Chocolate Raspberry Tart can be found here. But this is why I cook. To me, I failed with the results (it just looks bad) but I really want to know what I did wrong and try it again. How does it taste? I'm not much of a bittersweet chocolate fan. It's a wee grainy. Crust is good. I imagine if I had been serving this to guests I would have thrown a lot of raspberries on top with a quick sprinkling of powdered sugar and gave it a go.
So, I'd love to hear what you think? How do your cooking failures make you feel?


Dani said...

I can't wait to see it!

Big Shamu said...

Girrrrl, you can't rush these things. Especially something French.

Aunty Belle said...

quiverrin' wif' anticipation!!


I can smell chocolate from heah!

Boxer said...

**pulls up chair**

you got milk to go with it?

Buzz Kill said...

Smores, right? Bwahahaha
I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Aunty Belle said...

in case youse wonderin'...I saved room fer dessert tonight.

Making Space said...

Nice challenge! I saw chocolate and sugar and can't imagine that being a fail, heh heh.

I haven't cooked enough yet to have actual cooking failures. Presumably Hamburger Helper could be counted as a cooking failure, but it's popular with the kiddoes, so...

Didn't Babe Ruth have like five times more strike outs than home runs?

Big Shamu said...

We'll see what happens when I take it to work. At least it was a little tart.
And who doesn't love a little tart?

Aunty Belle said...

"Who doesn't love a little tart? "


Shamy, I think it looks wunnerful! Glorious!

Bet'cha woan have no trouble a'tall givin' away bites at work. Will be so curious to hear the comments from yore colleagues.

The surface of the tart in the book's photo is mebbe a wee less dark --but that might be the difference in lighting.

Was it only semi-set? The book description is that the center is near to custardy.

Oh! What a dear dear thang ya' is to tackle this--an' ain't true that sometimes a simple selection is deceptive--like the perfect omelette.

Thanky fer bein' our own TOP CHEF!!

Dani said...

I think you did great girl!

LaDivaCucina said...

Shamu I like that you challenge and self-critique yourself like me, only makes us better cooks. Julia Child always said "never apologize" and that is what I am trying to learn to do. Yesterday I sent over some "mistake" meatballs with my husband who is building a Christmas float for the Jaycees with a bunch of fellows. They all loved them and they were quickly eaten. but I didn't want to serve them because they were a bit too goopy when I made them and therefor a bit misshapen.

I did frittata for 150 concierge. Made it a million times except this time I was having a hard time cutting into perfect squares and the bottom was sticking to the baking paper and soggy. I was horrified. What could I do but serve it and hope for the best. People were raving over it, thank goodness. Either their standards are not like Diva's and they've not had good fritatta or it was good and I'm being too harsh. I don't point out my mistakes anymore as most people don't notice them.

Great job on the tart, I admire your mad baking skills. I myself don't like raspberries with chocolate and prefer the chocolate taste on it's own but managed to eat some raspberry chocolate mousse cake after a private party I worked for last night. I only just managed to get it down...Haha! Great job! I've got a new challenge up if you want to participate!

Big Shamu said...

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
Aunty, the color of the chocolate surprised me. As you see in the first picture, it's very dark however when I melted it down you would have sworn it was a milk chocolate. Back out of the oven, it was back to dark. It may have been the lighting too, I'm experimenting with non-natural light sources so I can have a little more flexibility on my shooting time frames especially with winter months coming. It was only semi set, like the directions indicated. Not sure I think of myself as Top Chef-ish. More like a Culinary Pilgrim. I thank for this particular station. It was fun.
La Diva I don't mind making mistakes but I found myself really having a hard time posting a picture of something not very pretty. REALLY HARD TIME. The one thing I do know about food mistakes....there's always someone hungry enough to eat them.
I'm like you, I'm not big on raspberries, I'm way more into blackberries. I think if I make this again, I'll go that route. Still it was fun.

fishy said...

My hat is off to you for taking on this challenge and doing such a great job! I don't bake anything but my once a year Christmas cookies, so this getting into chocolate cookery is very intimidating to me and uber courageous of you.

Making Space said...

And did they like the little tart? I'm guessin' the answer is a big fat YEEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!

Big Shamu said...

If you're not careful, that's going to be your new nickname.

A little sliver remained when I left work. I had the misfortune of running second to the hot cinnamon buns in the morning. Still no spitting of food occurred.

Making Space said...


Buns, tart, sounds about right... where do you work again? LOL

Big Shamu said...

PHAT City baby!

moi said...

Huh? How did I not get by this post earlier? Anyhoo, I've made flour-less chocolate cakes a few times and I've never been able to reach that quite right "truffle" like texture all the recipes talk about. The Catch-22 is, cooking chocolate with eggs produces that grainy-ish texture you describe. If you don't cook it, you may as well leave out the eggs, use cream instead, and make the thing like you would a truffle. In which case, why not just make truffles and save the gazillion calories of a large slice of tart?

I'd much rather have a plain mousse (I recently discovered the BEST recipe ever, which I'll have to post on my baking blob soon) – no fruit, either. I like my chocolate unadulterated, and unlike the current trend, I prefer milk and semi-sweet. Dark chocolate just tastes too "healthy." :o)

As for my mistakes? Oy. I sweat them every time I have someone for dinner or throw a party (right now I'm sweating a Dec. 5th hor's d'ouevres party for 25 and wondering if I shouldn't just Trader Joe's the whole thing). Then again, I do drink, so a glass of wine or two usually puts me – and my guests – squarely in "what the hey, it all tastes!" land.

Big Shamu said...

Moi, I haven't done a lot of chocolate baking, mostly fruit. Pies, cobblers and such. Most chocolate desserts that I see out in restaurants are just too rich for me so I never feel the urge to try them at home. Still, gotta push out of that comfort zone. I know what you mean about the semi and milk chocolates. I think it's a very american comfort zone.

Let us know how your party turns out and what you serve. Because you know how we all love to drool.