By Anne DesBrisay
I was in charge of the meal’s ending. I had offered to contribute to the party and the host suggested dessert. Something fruity would be nice. Perhaps a tart?
I used to be a baker. When my sons were little, I made muffins and cookies, and cakes for endless occasions, but I never liked it, and I was never much good. You need patience and precision to bake, and I have neither. So here’s what I’ve learned about baking now: intelligent people leave it to the experts.
Any idiot can grill a steak — my sons can all grill a steak — but it takes a special idiot to make a good pâte sucrée — adding just enough liquid to pull the dough together quickly, not overworking it so it toughens up, waiting for it to chill, then rolling it out with the dough not sticking to chilled pin and counter, lifting it gently into fluted pan such that it doesn’t fall apart (though it always does) patting it into place ’cause it has already crumbled (damn!).
Then chilling it again, then baking it blind to just the right degree of doneness without blackness, waiting again for it to cool, then painting it with the superior chocolate you’ve melted but not scorched, and finally whipping up a magnificent eggs-sugar-butter-citrus curd that’s neither too sweet nor too tart, neither too thick or nor too thin. And, finally, filling the cooled and painted shell with some semblance of style and grace, and grating on some chocolate as final flourish.
A good time, I’m sure. You could certainly give it a go.
Or, you can be very clever: head for Chez François and pick up a few chocolate lime curd tarts. Done, as above, and without the errors and the angst.
Really good. And dead easy.
Cost: $6 each
Chez François, 427 Richmond Rd., 613-759-8000.