I was toying with the idea of whether or not I should bake this week. Monday was out as it was the first Monday of the first full week back to work and I needed to focus on self-care. Tuesday I had plans. Wednesday my self-care turned more toward self-carelessness as I essentially didn’t move from the couch for too many hours of Netflix to admit to. That left Thursday night to bake and bring said baking to work the next day.
All day at work I told myself I couldn’t go home and sit on my couch. The couch is a strange vortex where, if you sit down too quickly after coming home, you will never move. This is what happened with my Wednesday. I’m fairly certain an entire Twilight Zone episode could be done about that phenomenon.
(Is that the sort of thing Twilight Zone covered? I never actually watched it.)
As much as I could come up with a million reasons not to bake this week, I knew I needed to keep up the momentum of a new year otherwise I’d never finish this bakebook.
After deciding that I was in fact going to bake, I had to decide what to bake. Now that I’m evened out in all of my categories, it felt right to move forward from last week’s cake and do a sweet pastry and/or patisserie. (It’s the section immediately after “cakes” in this book.)
There are several remaining options, of course. And several that terrify me to my soul. (I’m looking at you, millefeuilles.) This recipe, though, looked fancy, but was only marked with a two-spoon difficulty. Plus I had all of the ingredients in my house, so it was decided.
Mary’s chocolate orange tart it would be.
First up, make the pastry so it has time to chill before baking it to avoid a messy chocolate fudge tart situation.
It’s a new pastry to me. Mary wants me to pulse flour and icing sugar until blended. Icing sugar. In a pie crust. Colour me curious.
As per usual with a pastry dough, I’m to then add butter and pulse until it’s a crumby mixture, then slowly add egg yolk and cold water as the machine runs.
Mary doesn’t say to beat the two together, but I made a judgment call and was glad I did. I dare say it’s impossible to slowly add an egg yolk. That would be just swiftly adding one gloop of an egg yolk. You missed a step there, Mar-Bear!
She then wants me to mix it until just combined, which made me think it had to become an actual dough in the food processor as it’s done in the past, but that did not happen.
So I poured the crumby mixture into a bowl and combined it into a ball there.
That worked okay, despite the fact that there was a bit of egg yolk sitting in the bottom of the food processor. But that’s okay.
After wrapping it in plastic, I popped it in the fridge and made some dinner.
*over half an hour later*
Mary wants me to wait half an hour as it chills in the fridge, but as I experienced with the chocolate fudge tart, that’s not enough time to make it chilled enough to roll out nicely, so I ignored Mary and left it in there for probably an hour.
As I started to roll it out, I thought it worked better leaving it in there for longer.
However, I was wrong.
It was much too soft and became a bit of a mess. It did roll out thin enough quite quickly, which saved me from too much exercise. (Have you ever tried rolling out really chilled out dough? It’s a lot of work!) However, less effort isn’t always a good thing and for this, it was a bad thing.
I rolled it right off the edge of the counter and struggled with getting it unstuck from the counter, despite using copious amounts of flour to combat the stickiness.
Then when I tried transferring it to the tin, this happened:
Thankfully Mary includes a caveat in her instructions that if it comes apart, it’s easy to piece back together in the tin. Thank you, Mary, for thinking of those of us who are on a time crunch and can’t let it chill for long enough.
She doesn’t say anything about trimming the edges, but I also didn’t want to trim the edges because in the past, the crust has shrunk when baking because I don’t have enough baking beads. So I left quite a bit of overhang.
Time to chill out once again!
As that chills and the oven preheats, I started to prep the rest of the ingredients.
In reading ahead, I found that a lot of the following steps are done quite quickly, without much time for measuring the chocolate, butter, sugar, flour and eggs, so I thought I could channel my inner cookery show and have pre-measured, ready-to-go ingredients in a number of bowls.
Sadly I don’t have a lot of bowls nor do I have a lot of counter space, so I had to get creative, as per usual.
First is having 115 grams of dark chocolate finely chopped. I ignored the finely part and just smashed up one Ikea chocolate bar within the wrapper, which is 100 grams, and then broke apart 15 grams in a little bowl.
Then I got the butter ready. Thankfully, the rest of the butter I had added up to exactly what I needed: a plateful for the dark chocolate filling and a little less in a plastic container for the orange and white chocolate filling.
Then it was time to get the flour and sugar ready. To save on bowls, I combined the flour with the sugar because they get added at the same time. This bowl is for the dark chocolate, which I set beside the dark chocolate I already had prepped.
Then I prepped my eggs: four for the dark chocolate filling and two egg yolks for the white chocolate filling.
No mention of room temperature or not, but maybe by the time I use it, it’ll be room temperature. I’m also a little concerned because Mary calls for four medium eggs for the dark chocolate, but I’ve only got large eggs and they are quite large.
Since the chocolate and butter get added together, I saved another dish by measuring out the white chocolate chips into the smaller portion of butter.
And then prepped the sugar and flour and orange zest to be added to the white chocolate, along with a grateful spatula that I got as a gift from someone grateful for my baking.
I love the smell of orange zest. It’s just lovely.
And actually this bake kind of falls into a post-Christmas theme of chocolate orange flavour, which is perfect! It was meant to be.
With everything measured out and ready, it’s time to get that pastry in the oven.
Lightly stabbed a few times and with the edges trimmed enough to not light on fire whilst in the oven, it’s time to add the baking beads.
As mentioned, though, I don’t have enough baking beads so I got creative again.
*10 minutes later*
Ramekin and baking beads ever-so-carefully removed, Mary wants me to bake the crust for another five to seven minutes to become a dark golden brown.
(I snapped this photo at an awkward and ever-so-warm angle.)
*5-7 minutes later*
I pulled it out when I started to smell burning, which was probably due to those rather dark edges.
Also it’s a little alarming that my light stabbing created full perforations in the crust. I can see the tin below. I hope the filling doesn’t leak through and create a mess.
That’s really inconsistent baking. Maybe due to where there was pressure from the baking beads and ramekin? Note to self: get more baking beads!
As that cools, Mary tells me to get started on the filling with the oven still on.
Butter and chocolate, it’s time for you to get to know each other better.
Please get to know each other faster.
Seriously, guys, you’re taking a really long time.
Well hello. Is there anything better than smooth, melted chocolate? No. The answer is no. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures, I dare say.
With that smooth and melted, it’s time to remove from the makeshift double boiler and add the flour and sugar.
And this is where I make another judgment call.
When I looked at the number of large eggs and the size of the crust, I got concerned of overflowing, so instead of adding four eggs, I added only three, assuming three large are the equivalent of four medium.
Mix and mix and mix and remix.
That’s ready and needs to be set aside.
Time to start on the white chocolate orange filling, but here’s the thing: I’ve used already the large pot to go on top of the small pot and have no more to use! Note to self: go out and buy yourself some heatproof glass bowls! For crying out loud, you’ve been doing this for over a year. And this makeshift double boiler is even worse!
Like really. What am I doing?
It’s a disaster waiting to happen.
As I wait for the white chocolate and butter to co-mingle, I remember something from a previous bake: white chocolate has a different melting temperature than dark chocolate and should be removed from the heat sooner.
It’s hard to know what’s melting, though, the butter or the white chocolate because they’re both the same colour.
I had a few false starts by removing too early and putting back on the heat, but eventually I think I got the consistency right.
This is such an awkward container to do this in. Get bowls, Future Self! You’re super mad at your Past Self in your Present!
With the white chocolate and butter melted, it was time to add the flour, sugar and orange zest and then the egg yolks one at a time, before eventually arriving at this:
What a colour!
Now that both fillings are made—and the oven is still on—Mary wants me to add the fillings to the crust.
It fits! I think I made the right call by ditching an egg.
Now the orange filling is supposed to be added from a jug and then drizzled into the dark chocolate filling. However, I faced a similar issue to slowly adding an egg yolk into the food processor. It was a little, well, clumpy.
Nothing some careful swirling with a toothpick can’t fix!
I have a confession. I used a toothpick and did some swirling and then put that toothpick in my mouth because, well, yum. I was about to reuse it and then remembered that would be disgusting and I’d have to then eat this entire tart myself like Joey having to eat an entire batch of Monica’s jam.
So don’t worry. I got a new toothpick when I added an additional dollop of orange filling.
And then popped it in the oven and hoped for the best!
*10-12 minutes later*
This looks amazing, if I do say so myself.
Also I tried the salmonella filling by taking a spatula to the dark chocolate pot and taking the same spatula to the white chocolate container and combining the two and boy oh boy did it taste delicious.
Like almost too delicious.
Orange is one of my favourite chocolate pairings, not just because the most famous of that pairing encourages you to smash a fake orange on a tabletop.
Now this is where I had to do some thinking because Mary wants me to serve this warm. However, I’m not serving it the night I bake it. I’m serving it the next day. So is it okay to leave this out on the counter (covered of course) or do I put it in the fridge?
It’s not like it’s a cream pie filling like pumpkin which would obviously go in the fridge. All of the ingredients have been baked and really it’s more the composition of a brownie than a chocolate cream pie. I made the call to leave it out (covered, duh) instead of refrigerating it.
Also isn’t it weird that it’s “fridge” and “refrigerating”? Why does the “d” disappear? Or should I say isappear?
It’s late. I should go to bed.
*the next day*
It was a careful drive to work again!
I put it on the floor of the passenger seat again to avoid a slight tilt on the seat, but with every turn and acceleration I heard a light “thunk” as it moved around inside the container.
But then I put that container in its usual spot and saw people looking up and wondering what today’s creation would be.
Before the morning really got off to a start, I decided to slice it up and hand it out—and no one was complaining.
Not to toot my own horn, but it was really good. I used a little less sugar as I normally do so it wasn’t super sweet. The filling melted in my mouth and the crust was really crisp and the perfect pairing to the centre. It made me quite happy. So happy in fact that I ignored that New Year’s Resolution voice in my head and grabbed a second slice under the guise of needing to take a photo.
But someone recently reminded me that Chinese New Year isn’t until February, so New Year’s Resolutions regarding less sugar can easily be delayed.
I heartily agree.