Chef Tranchant made tartlets for demo today: orange, chocolate, almond, pear and lemon. Beaucoup de tartes! The tarte a l’orange was my favorite. Nicely bruléed (with cassonade sugar, which apparently is better for bruléeing, according to Chef), and awesome tanginess from the orange juice and zest. A great summer treat!

Tarte a L’Orange

The tarte au chocolat was surprisingly tasty too. I had my doubts, given my skepticism of the quality of chocolate used at the school, however the silky ganache was a nice contrast after the tarte a l’orange.

Tarte au Chocolat

The other tarts were less memorable. I especially did  not like the almond and pear tarts because the shells were made from shortbread, which rarely appeals to me. The tart au citron lacked the tangy goodness of its brethren, the [aforementioned] tarte a l’orange.

Tarte au Citron

When 18:30 (yes we’re on army time here…we also use centigrate!) rolled around, it was our turn to have a try at these mini-tarts which after the tastiness in demo, I was pretty excited to make (especially since we were assigned my favorites: orange and chocolate). The dough was the most difficult part because given such a short time (< 3 hours) in practical, we cannot chill our dough as much as Chef does during demo. While he may have the ‘same amount of time’ in demo to create the same dishes, Chef also has magical [television] powers as seen on most cooking shows, a.k.a the ability to “make ahead and chill.” Our dough was quite challenging to roll out and press in to ring molds. The difficulty was enhanced by the fact that there were people coming in and opening and closing our refrigerator doors, having stored items for a special event at the school that evening.

Ma Tarte au Chocolat

So the dough part got me a bit flustered, having torn my dough a few times in transit from parchment to ring and consequently, in my eyes I had ‘fallen behind’ my fellow classmates. I mean, it’s not a competition but when you’re rushing to make six tartlets and others have already finished molding their crusts and you’re still rolling out your third dough, you get a bit anxious.

Ma Tarte a L’Orange

(Chef Walter had us use white granulated sugar)

Perhaps anxiety and ‘falling’ behind is good for this rabbit. In the end I still finished before the majority, not that rank is all that important in this non-race (we’re all here to learn). After all, it’s the final presentation the Chefs take in to consideration and value (Oui, c’est vrai. Unfortunately, the chefs rarely taste our creations).  Donc, voilà! According to Chef Daniel Walter (nicknamed Chef Grandpa), I had the nicest tarts he had seen all night 🙂


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