Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fresh Tart

On Friday evening I spent a few hours visiting a professional colleague. Elizabeth Beekley, owner of Two Tarts Bakery was holding a class on a topic that is close to my heart.. French Macarons.

The perfect French Macarons are for some people a goal that has yet to be achieved. For me, I wanted to learn how different places do different recipes. Elizabeth has a reputation on high standards of freshness, using when able, local products, followed by a very creative ideology. Her ideas, as well as some of the shops best selling items have come from a whim or in a magical moment of "oh yea, now that sounds good!"

This evening was no different. As well as the standard fair of a simple almond recipe, we tried coconut, ginger, hazelnut and rice flour. All interesting, with wonderful results. The combinations seemed endless. And that was just the cookie. We still had to create a filling. Fillings were just as interesting as the cookie. Butter cream with lemon, or black currant or even a raspberry ganache. So I, and five other lucky people doned our colorful aprons and listened to Elizabeth, the shops "Queen of Tarts".

We started out by blending the dry ingredients in a food processor until fine and fully blended.

Next we used egg whites and whipped them until they were stiff. Taking the dry ingredients and then folding them into the meringue. Folding until fully incorporated.

With piping bag fitted with a wide tip, we filled the bag and piped out quarter sized buttons of the mixture.

Then tapping down any peaks, we placed them in the oven in hopes that the "foot" would appear.

After a few min, and not allowing them to go too long, our macarons came out in the way that only a true macaron should. Firm on the outside but soft and tender in the middle. Combined with the filling, I had my sweet tooth quenched.

After our class we all talked about the possibilties of different flavors and mixtures, like lavander or a jalapeno chocolate to name a couple. The choices, we decided, can be endless.

Two Tarts Bakery conducts several classes through out the year. And if they are all this fun, as I experienced, I may have to take another. Besides, you DO get to eat what you make!

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