Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Chaos in the Kitchen" Challenge #1: Brandied Cherry Tart

Before I begin with my cooking challenge updates, I'll give a brief update on my running. I really don't have much to say. I've been keeping up with the plan I got from my local running store, Vertical Runner. The plan has me just doing some base building. I'm running 4 days a week now. Here's how this week looks: M and W 5 miles, F is 4 miles, and Saturday 9 miles. This Saturday is supposed to be the first "official" group run for a training group that Vertical Runner is hosting. I'm kind of unsure about going because the long run is only planned to be about 7 miles and as I said, I need to get 9 in. I may just go a little earlier and run 2 on my own beforehand. I'm not sure if I'll join the training group, but I figure that I should at least check it out. I seem to be getting kind of bored with my running, so this might be a good kick start. I should probably start hitting some other trails too. I've been just running in my neighborhood the past 2-3 weeks and it is getting OLD! Other than running, I've been trying to do my workout videos on my T and Th. Last week I didn't do them since I was super busy those days, but I did one in this week. So, so far, so good. Okay...onto the eats...

Challenge 1: Brandied Cherry Tart (recipe from Blog: Good Things Catered)
Recipe Rating: 4 stars (see sidebar for rating details)

When I first found Katie's blog, Good Things Catered, she had this fabulous drink posted, a Cherry Mojito. I was having some friends over so I decided to give these a try. Oh my gosh...this drink is UBER fabulous! It is my official beverage of summer, 2008. So anyway, I bought way too many cherries and didn't know what to do with them. I went back to Katie's blog and found this wonderful looking cherry tart. Click on the recipe title above to see for yourself! Doesn't that look SO yummy! I thought, "Wow, that looks easy! I'll give it try." So, I gathered all the ingredients and got to work.

The night before, I followed a simple dough recipe and using my food processor, created a basic pie dough. I had never made my own dough before, so I wasn't quite sure what it was supposed to look/feel like, but it seemed to resemble the picture, so I wrapped it in plastic and stuck it in the fridge.

Next morning, I'm ready to whip this baby together. I put the cherries in the sauce pan with sugar and let them do their thing. I grab the pie dough out of the fridge and flour my counter top so that I can roll it out. This is where I encounter my first problem -- that dough was as hard as a hockey puck! "Ummmm, is this supposed to be like a rock?" I figured that I would just cook down the cherries and say a little prayer for the dough.

Well luckily, just as my cherries were almost finished, the dough was beginning to soften. Phew! I set the cherries aside to cool and started to roll out the dough...or should I say, attempted to roll out the dough. I read that to roll the dough into a nice circle, you should turn the dough every now and then. I rolled and then went to turn it...yeah, it didn't budge. WHAT! It was totally stuck to the counter. GRRRR. I had to peel it off the counter and start all over. That happened about a zillion times until I finally got the idea to roll it out on parchment paper. I mean, after all, I'm going to be putting this thing on parchment anyway!

So then I have the dough down on the parchment and go to roll. Yeah, the whole thing just slid across the counter top, almost onto the floor! UGH!! I have now decided that baking is NOT my thing. I persevere though and try a thousand different things. The dough continues to stick...to EVERYTHING! It sticks to the parchment, it sticks to the rolling pin, it sticks to my hands. I finally give up and toss insane amounts of flour over everything! I will roll this piece of dough out if it kills me! (I later looked at some pics online and found that what I thought was an "insane" amount of flour was actually just right.)

Well, eventually I triumphed over the dough. It was completely hideous -- not at all a circle or even a rectangle. It was more a diamond shape, but at that point, I was so WHATEVER! The dough was also thin, but I hoped it would be enough to do the job. I finally poured the cherry mixture onto the dough and did my best to fold the sides up to keep the mixture from running out. With the dough being so thin though, some of the sides just didn't want to hold and some cherries escaped. I didn't even use all of my filling because my dough would not have held it. At that point, I didn't even care.

I threw the hideous thing in the oven and just prayed it would be somewhat edible. Well, about 15 minutes later, I pulled it out of the oven and let it cool. Compared to Katie's masterpiece, mine looked U G L Y (hence, no picture)! Oh well...Another 10 minutes later, I cut a little piece and... loved every bite of it! The crust, as much of a pain in the butt as it was, was so tasty! It was flaky and buttery, but not dry. The cherry filling, while a little runny, was SO delicious. It was sweet and a little tart at the same time. The cherry flavored brandy that I used too was the perfect complement. I loved it!

I decided that I definitely want to try this again. Next time though, instead of trying to roll out the dough, moving it to a baking sheet, and then shaping the sides, I'll just try using a tart pan. That way I don't have to worry about the filling spilling out. And I will certainly be liberal with the flour too. Flour will be my friend!

So overall, I guess I can call this first challenge a success. As ugly as my final product was, it tasted pretty darn good. I learned how to make my own dough too which was pretty cool. Now I just have to figure out how the work the darn stuff!

No comments:

Post a Comment