Why is listening to pop music so necessary when you are doing kitchen work? I am not 100% sure but all I know is that when I am listening to a Lady Gaga album, I am at the height of my productivity. It’s sort of silent agreement among most of my co-workers, (who generally don’t seem like a group to be blaring Katy Perry or rocking out to Keisha) that it is just what we need to hear. Pop radio is more often than not, what we are jamming in the bakery. You gotta do what you gotta do.
This week, I started my first project from my gigantic French Culinary Institute technique of French pastry arts book. The first section is on tart dough, so I decided to make a fresh fruit tart. Like most of the recipes in this section the fresh fruit tart gives you the choice of using one of three basic tart doughs: Pâte Brisée, Pâte Sucrée, or Pâte Sablée. Pâte Brisée translating as “broken dough” is just a basic pie dough, making it vegan would merely mean substituting vegan butter for dairy butter, so I decided to eschew that in favor of a something a little more complicated.
Pâte Sucrée, translating as “sugared dough” seemed like a good choice since I chose to make a sweet tart, and I was excited to try to find out a good substitute for the eggs in the recipe. The ingredients for the dough in the original recipe were butter, confectioners’ sugar, 3 eggs, cake flour and baking powder. I decided to try replacing the eggs with vanilla soy yogurt.
The tart dough came out really well! This is the finished dough
I was a little concerned because it seemed very soft, but after chilling it overnight it was perfect. I also got to use my new food scale which is awesome. All the ingredients in the recipes for this book are measured by weight, so if you don’t have a food scale, I definitely recommend it, they are great for so many things! I decided to make my vanilla pastry cream recipe to fill the tart shell with, and then topped it with fresh fruit. I think the tart shell came out pretty true to how Pâte Sucrée is supposed to be, it is described as being “crumbly rather than flaky” when baked, so I think I did a passable job.
This is the tart shell after being filled with pastry cream
This recipe was a little time consuming, but fairly easy, the hardest part was rolling out the dough and transferring it to tart pan. That, and cutting the tart to eat it, it’s always so hard to cut into something you spend a lot of time decorating! Here is the finished product.
½ C Sugar
2 T cornstarch
½ C vanilla soy creamer
½ C non-dairy milk
1/2 t vanilla extract (or use some real vanilla bean if you’ve got the dollar bills)
1 T earth balance or other vegan margarine
Whisk together the cornstarch and sugar in a small pot. Add the soy creamer and non-dairy milk and bring to a simmer over low heat. Let simmer for about 7-10 minutes while whisking constantly, when mixture starts to get thick remove from heat and add the vanilla and the earth balance. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then refrigerate. Use within a day or two.
Vegan Pâte Sucrée (Note: This recipe makes enough for dough for two 9 inch tarts so half it if you just want one, I just think it’s nice to have tart dough hanging around just in case)
250 grams (8 ½ ounces) earth balance or other vegan margarine, at room temperature
125 grams (4 ½ ounces) confectioners’ sugar
¾ C vanilla soy yogurt (at room temperature)
500 grams (1 pound ½ ounces) cake flour
½ t baking powder
Prepare your mise en place.
Put the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer (or if you are broke like me and don’t have one like me, an electric hand mixer will work) use the paddle attachment if you are using a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on low to combine. Beat on medium high until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the soy yogurt ¼ C at a time, mixing well after each addition. If the mixture seems to separate, continue mixing until it comes back together. If it doesn’t seem to come back together, you can add a spoonful of flour to help it homogenize. When the soy yogurt is well incorporated, turn off the beaters and add all the cake flour and baking powder. Beat at a low speed and scraping down the sides of the bowl, mix until the flour is just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix at this stage. Form into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 1 week before using.
To make tart: On a floured surface roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Make sure you roll it out to be 2 inches larger than the pan you will be baking it in. Carefully transfer it to the tart pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown (mine seemed to take more like 30 minutes). Allow to cool completely and then remove the tart shell from the pan, spread your pastry cream over the bottom and top with fresh fruit in whatever kind of decorative pattern you feel like. Mix some apricot jam with a little water and heat on the stove top until melted. With a pastry brush glaze the fruit with the warm jam. Done! Now go show it off to someone!