The answer should be “ice cream,” because our high today was around 90℉, but the choices today are blueberry tart or peach Melba jellyroll. I’ve never made a jellyroll, so that has a special attraction, but I also have a work deadline, and the tart would be easier, so the tart wins. I’ll do the jellyroll next, though.
For the tart, because I’m starting to feel like it’s too predictable and easy, I’m ready to do a little tweaking. Cinnamon and lemon are classic with blueberry, so my strategy today was to add some cinnamon and lemon peel to the crust and to use lemon extract (instead of vanilla) in the pastry cream.
Pate Sablée with Cinnamon and Lemon Zest
(adapted from Julia’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
7 oz all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
5 T butter
2 T shortening
1 tsp water
1 tsp lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients. Add the fat and pulse until the fat is in pea-sized pieces (or smaller). Add the liquid ingredients and lemon zest and process until the dough begins to form lumps. Press the dough into a 9-inch square or 10-inch round tart pan and chill for at least 1 hour. Line the tart shell with foil and weight it with pie weights or beans, then bake at 375℉ for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake another 5 to 7 minutes. Cool the crust on a rack; when the crust is cool, remove it from the tart pan.
Lemon Pastry Cream
(Adapted from Chef Bo’s recipe in The Professional Pastry Chef)
2 cups milk
4 oz sugar
1 oz cornstarch
a few grinds of sea salt
1 tsp lemon extract
Put the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Keeping an eye on the milk, whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl; add the eggs and whisk until smooth. When the milk comes to the boil, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and slowly bring it back to the boil, stirring constantly. Allow the pastry cream to boil for 10 seconds, then remove it from the heat and stir in the extract. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until it cools.
For the tart:
1 pint of blueberries
2 T apricot jam mixed with enough water to make a brushable glaze
To assemble the tart, turn the pastry cream into the tart shell, smoothing it with a spatula. Arrange blueberries over the surface. Brush the berries with apricot glaze.
Also, at the request of Dr. Science, I’m making chocolate chip cookies. I thought I’d try a recipe from King Arthur, but I ended up being too lazy to carry the computer to the kitchen and just followed the recipe that’s on the back of the chocolate chip bag. I got Ghirardelli chips on sale awhile ago, so that’s what I’m using. Here’s their recipe:
Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Yield: 4 dozen cookies)
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (who knows how much that is? I used 9 oz)
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed (I used light brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (that’s the 12-oz bag)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) (I didn’t add nuts)
Preheat the oven to 375℉. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugars, then add the vanilla and eggs and beat until creamy. Stir in the dry ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips.
They tell you to drop by tablespoons, but I use a scoop.
I can also tell you the trick to getting crisp or chewy cookies. If you want the cookies to be flat and crisp, use room-temperature dough. If you want the cookies to be chewy, refrigerate (or freeze) the dough. Actually, the dough keeps well in the refrigerator for quite a while — certainly a week — and you can form the dough into balls and store those in a covered container, then just bake a few at a time. Of course, that means heating up the oven for a few cookies, which isn’t very energy efficient, so that’s the tradeoff.
The other trick is to bake at the correct temperature. At 375℉, these got a little too done for my taste; I’ll do the next batch at 325℉.
I also made another loaf of sourdough; this one has some whole wheat flour in it. It doesn’t look as pretty as the first one. I’ll just have to keep practicing. I’ll have to keep practicing my slashing, too; this is supposed to be an octothorp, but I think I made a hash of it.