I'm really not quite sure what to say this week, because I've officially run out of ways to say "Oops, I underbaked it." I feel like I have no excuse for failing at a brioche-based recipe given how frequently I seem to make brioche these days. But the brioche in this recipe is of the "poor man's," i.e., lower butter, variety, and maybe I need the extra butter in my brioche to mask my inevitable mistakes. In any case, this one just seemed to go poorly from the beginning. To start with, I had the hardest time converting the active dry yeast that the recipe called for to the instant yeast that I had. Sure, I could have just asked Nancy, but I was determined to give the 'ol brain a workout and figure it out on my own. It's like at work - I work with a paralegal who is an honest-to-goodness math wiz, and while it's so tempting to just say "Mike, I can't figure out the post-judgment interest, can you?," sometimes I just need to prove to myself that I can still do basic math without spontaneously combusting. So while it hurt my brain, I sat there with a pencil and calculator until I finally determined that 1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast = a little more than 1 teaspoon instant. I think. That's what I used, anyway.
Dorie said that the dough would be fairly thin, more like a batter than a dough. But mine was unquestionably dough-like. Then the dough didn't seem to rise much, a problem that I always used to have, but haven't had in a while. In fact, if anything, I've had the opposite problem lately - dough that threatens to rise high enough to bust through the roof. I did the whole refrigerate/deflate routine, but my heart wasn't really in it because there wasn't really anything to deflate.
The next morning I pressed the dough into the pan.
I cut up my plums. I'm very curious to hear if anyone actually used 14 plums for this. That's a whole lot of plums. I used 5 or 6 and my tart was chock full 'o plums. Then I spread some plum jam on the dough. Actually, that's a lie. I used plum jelly, which I found at the farmer's market around the corner from my house. I never really did know what the difference is between jam and jelly, but if I could blame my tart woes on my misguided use of jelly rather than jam, I will. Topped my
Once it started baking I began to feel better about my brioche. It was puffing up and browning nicely. I had to tent it after around 15 minutes to keep it from getting too brown. It looked done to me after 30 minutes, although, in retrospect, the juices were not bubbly. I should have baked it longer. Because:
Oh yeah! Raw dough under the jelly! And I wasn't going to try the re-bake thing again - I'd be kicked out of the club for sure if I pulled that one two weeks in a row. David worked all day on Sunday, and I could see him eyeing the tart as I headed upstairs to put the kids to bed. I told him to leave the tart alone because it was partially unbaked, and I'd have to deconstruct it to make it edible. He promised me that he would not go in without a guide.
So I cut up the plums and the baked portions of the brioche and threw them together in my beloved new pink Sur la Table ruffled ice cream bowl, and topped with ice cream. The result?
D: Where is the jam?
C: The jelly?
D: The jelly.
C: Well, unfortunately, the jelly was right on top of the raw dough, so when I scraped away the raw dough to get to the baked part, I probably scraped away most of the jelly too. Sorry.
D: Well, it kind of tastes like bread and plums with ice cream.
C: Yeah, I was afraid of that.
Thank you for this great summer pick, Denise of Chez Us. I've heard great reviews of this, so maybe I'll try it again someday when a dark cloud of bad baking luck is not hovering over my head.