The Tartine Project An introspective journey through the Tartine cookbook

26Apr/120

Happy Valenbirthsary – Swedish Princess Cake

Princess Cake

Princess Cake for my brother-law's birthday.

If you ever want to buy me a cake for any reason -  this would be it. It’s the princess cake–a sponge or genoise cake, soaked in a syrup, layered with raspberry jam, pastry cream, and whipped cream, then wrapped with care in a thin layer of marzipan. It’s what love would look like it if were a cake. I’ve made this three times since March. For three different occasions. To celebrate. To share. To create memorable moments with people I love.

I used this recipe as a baseline, then pulled from the Tartine Book for my pastry cream and the Cake Bible for the white velvet butter cake.

Taste: Light and creamy
Ease of recipe: Hard - This will take time, but I break up the tasks over two days.
Time: 1 hour for the creams, 1 hour for the cake, 1 hour for assembly
Total calories* per recipe : TBD :) <--highlight this area with your cursor to see the calories

28Jun/116

Becoming an Expert in 10,000 Hours – Summer Fruit Trifle

Summer Fruit Trifle

"There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy." - Yo Gabba Gabba

We were talking about the 10,000 hour rule in the office last week so I thought it would be interesting to calculate how far away I was from that goal. If I say I’ve been baking every weekend since January and that on average spend 3 hours each time, it means that I am .0078% of the way there and that I would be exactly 100 years old before I reach Expert status! This either makes me want to quit my day job and go to culinary school, or give up this baking nonsense entirely.

But I’d like to look at this another way. I spent 3 hours last week prepping my Summer Fruit Trifle (click for link to recipe). I brought this to a picnic that served 12 adults and a handful of kids. We all spent 4 hours together shooting the breeze over a beautiful day in the park, enjoying good food and conversation. If any of my time spent baking contributed to the overall good spirits that day, I’ve hit my mark. Because I realize as I’m getting older that time is scarce. And the 3 hours I spend baking is really 3 hours I’ve contributed to making the time spent with friends and family memorable.

31May/110

Early Morning Delight – Summer Fruit Bavarian

Summer Fruit Bavarian

Dessert for breakfast: Summer Fruit Bavarian

Guilty as charged. At 7:30am, my daughter and I had dessert for breakfast – our reward for pledging not to eat all of the strawberries before the cake was done!

I didn't have a reason to bake this cake other than having bought a ton of strawberries at the local farmers market. The strawberries were insanely sweet and flavorful and I wanted to do something special with them. There was only one mishap this time with the Genoise cake base that required me to bake another batch. Otherwise, it was quite simple and fun to assemble, especially since I involved my daughter who helped me blend the Pastry Cream and add the strawberries to the cake during assembly. I will say that the fruit puree (which was also made from the fresh strawberries) was really key to this cake, helping to ensure a uniform strawberry flavor. Overall, I was really impressed having come from my let down with the Pastel de Tres Leches cake.

Taste: Refreshing and sweet
Ease of recipe: Easy (though I do admit that perhaps these are becoming "easier" with more experience and preparation)
Time: 4 Hours
Total calories* per recipe: 7394<--highlight this area with your cursor to see the calories

* Calories based on recipe calculator from MyFitnessPal.com

28May/110

Foundations – Genoise

Genoise Cake Base

First attempt at making the Genoise (sponge cake) cake base.

One thing I find really appealing with this book is that many of the recipes I've encountered thus far start with basic foundations. Instead of having different batters for different recipes, there is a strong nod to using one base recipe for crusts, cake bases, etc. that can be found at the end of the book. From these basics, the recipes then take on a life of their own, bringing unique qualities to the dessert. I still haven't mastered these basics but I am learning something new each time.

With this recipe in particular I had to make the batter twice. The first time, the cake was deflated, hard, and tough. After viewing a video from Gourmet Magazine on YouTube, I was able to come through with a decent second attempt. Two tips that were particularly useful to me: