Friday, May 15, 2015

(French) Food Revolution FFWD - Fighting for Food Education - Caramel Almond Tart


Today is Food Revolution Day, a global campaign launched by Jamie Oliver to put compulsory practical food education on the school curriculum.  One of the Doristas, Mardi, is an ambassador for Food Revolution Day, hence for French Friday with Dorie this week, we are hosting a French food revolution.  Mardi has asked us to choose a recipe or technique that we have learned from Around My French Table that we think is a "must know". 

Now, while I realise that pastry is not a necessity of life, it is a very handy skill to have, as pastry can be used as a basis for making meals such as pies and quiches, as well as for making desserts and treats.  Before Dorie, making pastry scared me, as I had had more than one failed attempts at making it.  However, through Dorie, I have discovered a fail-safe technique for making pastry that is quick and easy, and does not even require you to endure the sometimes tricky task of rolling out the dough.

The recipe that is now my go-to pastry recipe is Dorie's Sweet Tart Dough from Around My French Table.  Although it is a sweet tart dough,  I don't see why it can't double up for certain savoury applications because it is not overly sweet (but note that Dorie also has a "good for almost everything" tart dough that can also be used for this purpose).

I applied Dorie's sweet tart dough recipe to making her Caramel Almond Tart from AMFT.  The dough is made in the food processor, so there is no need to fear rubbing the fat into the flour or sticky hands.  I also always just press the dough into the tart pan rather than rolling it out - which means less effort and no breakage, with a perfect fit every time!  Another self-taught tip that I have when using Dorie's sweet tart dough is that if the mixture comes out too crumbly to come together easily, just add a little ice water  to assist in bringing the dough together.  Dorie also taught me how to prevent shrinkage of the pastry during baking by chilling the dough before shaping and chilling it again after it has been moulded into the tart pan.   Here's my pressed-in sweet tart dough, partially baked and covered with toasted sliced almonds in preparation for my caramel filling:


Another skill that I have learned from Dorie is making caramel.  It really is simple when you know how.  You just melt sugar and water together - don't touch otherwise it will crystallise, but gently swirl to get an even colouration, until you get a lovely amber colour:


then stand back and add the cream - it will pop and spit, but just add the cream slowly and don't put your face over it, and everything will quickly calm down: 


et voila - in this case, a lovely caramel cream filling, but you simply change the proportion of cream to make caramel sauce, caramel candies etc - the same basic principles apply:
 
 
Mastery of these two techniques (making pastry and making caramel) results in a wonderful caramel almond tart for your family to enjoy:
 
 
Fun to make, good to eat, and best of all, you know what is in your food because you made it from scratch - no nasty chemicals.
 
To see what the other Doristas learned from Dorie for our French Food Revolution Friday, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website. 

18 comments:

Beth said...

Making caramel and pastry are two things I haven't quite mastered (especially the caramel) but would love to. Great post!

Johanna GGG said...

I don't really make caramel as it always seems so decadent but I do love it - and when I do make it there is usually a tin of condensed milk involved. It does seems like a good skill to have.

As for pastry - I can see I have got better at it during my blogging years - making it in the food processor sounds very sensible - I didn't know that chilling the pastry once lining the tin stops shrinkage - will try and remember this.

Kari said...

I hadn't registered Food Revolution Day this year - thanks for alerting me to it! This tart looks absolutely gorgeous.

Liz Berg said...

TWO marvelous techniques from Dorie! Definitely invaluable!!! xo

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I remember the first time I made caramel I was so intimidated by it! It always seemed to take ages to go brown too but once I learned I had to be patient I now love making it! :D

Mardi Michels said...

Everything from scratch (or as far as possible) is totally what Jamie's on about this year! Getting people back to the kitchen. This type of dessert whilst not a NECESSITY, is much better for us than processed food. Brava! This looks amazing!

Cher Rockwell said...

My pastry skills have definitely beefed up since AMFT (and BFMHTY).

Great selection!

Trevor Sis Boom said...

baking a tart might not be the most healthful skill for our youth but I can tell you from experience that it does wonders for your self esteem that ought to be worth a lot to any young person. LOVE!

Kathy said...

Your Caramel Almond Tart looks fabulous! Tart dough is a tough one when you first start baking, but it all comes together quite easily once you’ve mastered the basics! Your caramel looks amazing!
Looking forward to seeing you next week! Safe travels!

Mary Hirsch said...

Just a perfect Post to celebrate FFWD's participation in Food Revolution Day. I didn't know how to do either of those tasks before joining FFWD. So, I didn't even try. With French Fridays, we had no choice. Just do it. And, we did, and, most of the time, it worked. Thank you for reminding us of that fact. Safe travels next week.

Nana said...

Your tart does look wonderful. I like Dorie's recipe for tart dough but have not tried the caramel yet. I loved reading your post, perfect way to celebrate Food
Revolution Day.

Dorie said...

I love that pastry's a cinch for you now - makes life more delicious, doesn't it? xoDorie

Kayte said...

Absolutely beautiful. You know, everytime you all rave and rave about that sweet tart dough recipe I hide my head in shame as I cannot get that to work out for me for some reason. More often than not I am good at pastry dough, I really am. But I cannot get that to work for me and I always sub in Nick Malgieri's sweet tart dough instead. Shame on me, I know. What am I doing wrong with that??? I can't figure it out.

Teresa said...

Pastry and caramel are two of my favourite skills garnered from our time with French Fridays. And the Caramel Almond Tart is one I'll be repeating again and again.

KB from Prof Who Cooks said...

I really enjoyed that tart when I made it and I completely agree with you about the sweet tart dough. Invaluable!

Diane Zwang said...

Great post. I have not made the Caramel Almond Tart yet and it looks good. I respectfully disagree that pastry is not a necessity of life;)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Gaye, absolutely beautiful tart - thank you for reminding me that I absolutely should make this again soon!
Andrea

dulceshome.com said...

Lovely post, and definitely great skills to have! That tart dough is a real winner, one that I go back to. Your dessert looks super delicious!!