Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TWD: Foldover Pear Torte

I made this week's TWD recipe, Foldover Pear Torte, late last week. But you'll just have to take my word for it, as I have no pictures to share of it, since I forgot to take pictures. It's as if I was baking pear tortes on a random Thursday without some underlying blogging purpose or something! I forgot, just plain forgot, even after my husband (as he's been conditioned to do) asked me on two or three separate occasions if he could eat the torte. You'd think that at least one of those times before granting permission I would have done the whole "do I need anything more from that torte, like a picture?" analysis, but I did not. I told him to eat it, and then it was gone, and I had no pictures to prove that I made it. I'm thinking that might have been divine intervention though, as my torte was not pretty, and it's probably best that anyone who may stumble upon this post be spared the ugly evidence.

I did snap a picture of the pear/apricot/nut mixture, which will hopefully suffice as proof that I made the torte:



This torte has three major components - fruit/nut mixture, a cream/egg custard filling, and pie crust. I've made Dorie's Good for Anything Pie Dough numerous times, and it is fabulous. But I've long been intrigued by the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough, so I decided to try that recipe this time. And I can report that it is indeed foolproof, because never has a pie crust been so abused and mangled yet still managed to bake up so flaky and delicious. I still cringe when I think about what this poor pie crust endured -- after I added the liquid (water/vodka), it was simply drowning. No amount of mixing would incorporate that much liquid (and of course, everyone knows that overmixing pie dough is the death of it, so I faced an impossible dilemma). I finally ended up pouring off the excess liquid, ringing out the dough the best I could, and sticking it in the fridge. I called out to my baking friends who've made this crust before, and nobody could recall having had excess water issues. Once again, I'm making good on my promise to put any recipe writer's claim of foolproofedness to the test. I was shocked, truly and utterly shocked, that the crust ended up being delicious. The process was so traumatic that I will probably stick with Dorie's pie dough from now on; on the other hand, if I could not ruin the Cook's Illustrated crust, I believe that it simply cannot be ruined -- i.e., is foolproof -- and therefore I have to recommend it as an excellent option for any pie crustaphobes out there.

But of course with a dessert like this the crust is simply a vehicle for the torte filling. The recipe calls for a fruit/nut mixture of pears, dried apricots or raisins, and walnuts, topped with a custard filling. Pears tend to be pretty unassertive, especially when baked, but I think they were perfect in this recipe, since the real star here is the custard. It'a made of eggs, sugar, rum, vanilla and almond extracts, butter and cream, and it is simply fabulous. I think Dorie made a great call pairing it with a mild fruit like pear, which will not compete with the custard (that said, I'm very eager to see what other TWD bakers used in this torte!) The dried apricots were kind of distracting to me -- perhaps because I didn't cut them small enough -- and next time I'll be sure to dice them really fine, use golden raisins, or skip the dried fruit altogether.

The result? We thought this torte was great -- definitely a perfect "seasonal transition" dessert, as Dorie describes in her notes. Somehow this one seemed like a whole lot of work to me. I think that was my fault, as I kind of started out unorganized, and in a train-wreck of a kitchen, and then there was the Waterlogged Pie Crust Incident that kind of flustered me out of the gate; and it seemed like there were bowls and knives and zesters and extracts and small kitchen appliances everywhere, etc. I'm not sure how that was any different from any other baking session, but for whatever reason I emerged from this one in need of a {insert nap/massage/drink/break/maid/online shopping session here}.

Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen chose this fantastic torte. Cakelaw is an Aussie lawyer with a fun food blog -- you can find the pear torte at her blog right here. Thanks for the great pick, Cakelaw!

14 comments:

natalia said...

Ciao Cathy ! I'm sorry about the dough problem but I'm sure the torte was great !

Cakelaw said...

Hi Cathy, foolproof tart dough sounds right up my alley, because pie dough and me aren't best riends. Glad you liked this torte, and thanks for baking along!

Audrey said...

No, this is good! I was having fun imagining what this looked like and you didn't spoil that for me! I mean, I hate it when people do that.

I have never ever made a good pie crust, tho I've collected recipes for dozens of perfect/foolproof/alltime best ones. It's good that I can throw them all out and use one or two that have been pre-approved. Especially since I need to make this after reading your description of that filling...

Pamela said...

I have wanted to try that pie crust recipe for some time, but I keep putting it off. Guess I should try it soon, huh? Glad you enjoyed this one.

Kayte said...

What a description of it all...sounds just wonderful and that filling shot was very nice. I have done that goof up on the photo thing before (and used Nancy's photo giving her full credit) or the boys have erased them off the card faster than I got them posted...any number of things can happen with photos around here. The torte was extra good with a huge slap of whipped cream on the top...oh, yeah.

AmyRuth said...

I loved reading your story (as always). I did the shopping thing for you today as I drove to St. louis to buy kitchen toys and girlie make up tools in the big city. The baking isn't done, shucks! But I offered you a fun link instead. Maybe that will make up for the No torte week. Actually, I think I may make it tonight and share tomorrow. Good idea? I'm pretty sure it was delicious. Way to go!
AmyRuth

Di said...

I definitely need to try the CI pie crust. I need to buy some inexpensive vodka first, though. I'm glad that things turned out reasonably well in the end. And don't feel bad--most things this week have left me feeling like I need a nap/massage/drink/break/maid. =P

jillbert said...

This was my first time making Dorie's crust. I manhandled it and it worked out, but crust is scary. This was a great recipe - glad it worked out for you!

Tracey said...

Hi Cathy! Sorry I haven't visited in ages, I just can't seem to keep from falling behind. I'm glad this one was such a hit in the taste department, despite being a major source of stress otherwise. I'm glad the CI crust baked up well for you, give it another shot when the trauma wears off, it really is a good one. That said, I tried Dorie's crust this week for the first time and it's just as good.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I was actually kind of disappointed at how much my husband liked this recipe, since it seemed like a ton of work to me also. My kitchen is in constant trainwreck condition these days and I am always in need of multiple types of reinforcements. But we bake on, don't we? Good job this week, even without photos.

Jessica said...

I always forget to take pictures these days. Honestly, I think if it weren't for the pictures I'd blog much more frequently! So, I think your photo of chopped pears and apricots is lovely proof of this dessert. I'm glad you all enjoyed it!

Jess said...

I believe you, I believe you! I am such a mediocre photographer that often when I forget to snag a picture, I just say, "Eh, it's better that way."

I'll have to try that crust recipe for Thanksgiving pies, because in my recent laziness I have been using (shh) premade pie crust and I finally had to admit that they're just no good.

Judy said...

Well, the filling looks delicious! I wrestled with my pie crust. I don't know who won.

I tried the CI pie crust one time, and it shrunk so badly I've never made it again. I just use the crust I learned to make in high school.

TeaLady said...

It was good wasn't it?? I can see yours in my mind's eye and it is beautiful I am sure!!!.

 
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