Best Monday ever! I made two things I had never made before: scones and a tart!
Scones: Surprisingly incredibly easy. I used this recipe from Sweet&Salty Southern Comfort. She provides a ton of pictures if you like following pictures when you’re baking; but the instructions themselves are well-written and straightforward. They turned out a bit flaky and a bit bready, similar to drop scones I’ve had before. I have a feeling that when I have my own [glorious] kitchen, fresh scones will be making a regular appearance! Nothing quite like fresh-baked food for breakfast. Or lunch. Or tea. Or dinner. Or dessert. Or midnight snack.
Fresh fruit tart!! I’ve been dying to buy myself a tart pan for the past n-months, and I finally did it a couple weeks ago when I went to Crate&Barrel (much cheaper than Williams-Sonoma tart pans, but also definitely flimsier–will buy a nicer one if I find out that it’ll make a difference, also when I have more money and a kitchen to stock with all my things). My mother went to Costco late last week and returned with Costco-sized boxes of fresh berries. The timing was perfect! I find that I quite like decorating with fruits, both the cutting and the assembling–it caters quite nicely to my slight compulsiveness.
I used this recipe from Joy of Baking. I ignored the videos, and just followed the written instructions. I accidentally poured in the vanilla extract into the milk for the milk-boiling step because I didn’t read far enough to see that the vanilla extract should be added with the optional liqueur right at the end. But other than the solid blocks of text that is typical of Joy of Baking recipes, it was easy to follow. Although, if this is the first time you’re making a custard, you might want to watch the video just to see the process. Oh! And before I forget, when adding the boiling milk to the egg mixture, only pour a little bit of the milk in first and whisk crazy fast so that the eggs are raised to the right temperature and don’t cook into clumps. Once that first bit of milk is in, add the rest of the milk. I learned this trick from The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer, and it worked quite nicely. When I assembled the tart, I also pressed the custard through a fine-mesh sieve because the lumps that formed were not disappearing, and I wanted my custard to be smooth.
The result: SO DELICIOUS! Could have gone with a little less zealousness on the splash of bourbon that I put in the custard, and could have been a bit more zealous on the sliced strawberries. And I’m considering doing a chocolate glaze between the crust and the custard next time. All (3) opinions point to a resounding, “Yes” on the recipe and the product!