Posts tagged history
Pâte Sablée or Tart Crust
I sometimes reference the fact that I worked as a baker once upon a time. Who knew I was falling in love on the early mornings when I was a mere babe, only 20 years old?

It was then that I felt kinship to a group of unknown people who came before me. And I'm not talking about crazy Joe who worked in the kitchen, taping off his piece of the work bench, marking his territory, keeping his colleagues out of his space and wiping up an errant spray of flour quickly. I like a twitch of OCD in my kitchen people but he was barely tolerable on the spectrum of tidiness.

No, I'm talking about the folks who ages ago found the magic in butter, flour, eggs, cream and sugar. The masters who created pastries in kitchens without electricity or refrigeration. Often I would think they too welcomed the morning with flour on their strong forearms and mealy sweat on the back of their necks. They, like me, were busy before the rest of world, ready with something delicious out of the oven and a hot cup of coffee for the newly awaken. I love those people.

There was a tart we made then. Honestly, I didn't know that it was anything special until I left and I tried to find a recipe. We used a Pâte Sablée which is crumbly when you make it. It was difficult to find ours as it had cooked egg yolk in the dough. It adds a tenderness. Most recipes don't have the cooked egg. I was shocked. I thought they all did! Looking for recipes I finally came across one that I could use as a starting place. 

Ingredients
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 hard-boiled large egg yolk
2 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Push the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve and stir the raw egg yolk and vanilla into it. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.
Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Shape the dough into a disc (it will be very soft), wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least an hour, more time if you can.

Roll and line an 11 inch tart pan. Bake blind at 350 for 10ish minutes.

At the place where I baked, we'd line the shell with chocolate, fill with pastry cream, top with fruit and glaze. It really was all that.

How many times have you come across something only to find it was special after it was long out of your life? Lucky me to be able to recreate this little piece of my special history.