Hazelnut cake; Pear, red onion, and gorgonzola tarte tatin (Waiter, there's something in my ... ); and my oven is broken
I had big dreams. I ribboned my eggs.
Mixed in the ground nuts and flour. Tucked them into their pots.
And was totally confused when 10-minute bake time took more than 90. In the back of my mind, I was in denial that my oven did NOT feel like 375. I just swallowed the lump in my throat (not the cake ... not yet, anyway), and turned it out. It was ... rough.
But i had a green plate! And jam! The cake's flavor was nice and nutty--not too sweet, but the texture was wrong. The jam saved it from being inedibly dry.
And, like a fool, I ignored it, chalking it up to just my messing up the recipe, or some measure or something being off. *sigh* I guess I was too excited about my upcoming pear, red onion, and gorgonzola tarte tatin to let it register that I had a problem ...
I'm just glad the crust came out and the cheese melted. This was my first tarte tatin, but I know the filling didn't caramelize as much as it should have.
Luckily, I'd caramelized the pears and onions in the pan, so it wasn't too crazy. I'd been wanting to make this tart ever since I realized I had a One Windmill Farms red onion I wouldn't enjoy in the raw, and a couple of Yali pears from Maya's Farm that I wanted to use up before they turned.* I wanted to make a tarte tatin because I didn't want to fuss to much with the shell--no parbaking, pricking, rolling, fluting, especially since I have only 6" tart pans, and I didn't want a bunch of little tarts. I almost just mixed up a bake-up cobbler batter, but I didn't want the filling up at the top. I worried about making a tarte tatin because I figured the filling components should be somewhat chunky to account for the longer bake time. I didn't want big chunks of onions in my tart, though. I also wasn't sure about how to add the gorgonzola so that it wouldn't burn. My solution was to caramelize the big chunks of pear in the baking pot (it was a small tart, I had only two pears, so I just used my milk pot) and caramelize the finely sliced red onion in a skillet before tucking them into the spaces around the pears.
To protect the cheese from melting directly onto the pot bottom, I sprinkled the crumbled Gorgonzola on top of the onions and pears, then topped off with the dough.
All the while, I'm preheating my oven to 450. Or, I think I am. I notice that the preheat light was on for a long time, and when I peeked into the oven to feel how hot it was ... it was cold. COLD. COLD COLD COLD. Like my heart. Like my soul. Like my icy glares. I sighed and saw my breath. COLD. I looked at my tarte tatin and saw the dough starting to weeping with me. Desparately, I tried the broiler, and it worked. Oooookaaaaay ... so I broiled my tarte tatin, keeping it covered with foil for part of the time so it wouldn't get too brown. It actually worked. Well ... the crust baked up fine, and the cheese melted, but the filling didn't caramelize nearly as much as I would've liked. Still ...
A little tang from the cheese, and teeny bit more from the onions, which were mostly sweet and even smoky, then the sweet, slightly crispy pear, and a buttery, tender, flaky crust. It was really good, and I enjoyed it so much, but there's a part of me that's nagging me to know how it would've turned out if my oven hadn't gone kaput.
Luckily, I'll be at my parents' in California for Thanksgiving, but there's not telling when Frigidaire will send people out to repair my oven. I'd had plans to bake quite a bit this weekend, including the pie-baking crafternoon with a school friend. It was a bummer to cancel it because I was excited to bake a recipe I've long wanted to try. Christmas, then! Even if I have to buy an EZ-Bake Oven (tm)! On tap for the rest of the week before my trip: Skillet meals! ;D
Broiled Tarte Tatin Recipe
Make this tart crust recipe and let the dough rest in the fridge until the next night, when you panic about leaving the tart dough in the fridge for too long instead of just freezing it.
Preheat your broken oven to 450. Bring your tart dough out to warm up a wee bit. As it does, caramelize in butter, in a 1.5 quart milk pan (since you don't own a humorously small tarte tatin skillet):
Two sliced, cored Yali pears, with a sprinkling of sugar to taste, and some salt.
Caramelize in different butter:
One thinly sliced red onion and some basil chiffonade, seasoned with a little salt.
Stuff the red onion slices into the spaces around the pear wedges, which you can attempt to arrange artfully if you're the artful type. Sprinkle between 1/8 and 1/4 of a cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese on top of the onions and pears.
Roll your dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness. There will be some leftover. If your oven works, you can make a blackberry crostata! If not, stuff the leftover dough in the freezer for later use.
Tuck your dough round over your filling, trying, and maybe not succeeding, in really getting the crust to wrap around the sides of the filling. Oh well.
Glance at the oven and wonder why it's not preheated yet. Open the door and realized that it's cold. COLD COLD COLD. Panic and turn on the broiler. Set a rack to the center of the oven, and shove your tarte tatin. Break a rule and shut the oven door all the way while the broiler is on. Watch your crust brown too quickly in the first few minutes, panic, and cover it with foil. Let it alone for 15 minutes. For the last 3 or four minutes, remove the foil and let it brown a little more. Pull it out and leave to cool while you worry about how icky the tarte tatin might be. Flip it out onto a pretty plate and take a tentative taste. Enjoy. Or not, but pat yourself on the back for trying.
Hmmm. This month's "Waiter, there's something in my ... " is all about tarts. I think this works. Maybe. Or not, but pat yourself on the back for trying!
*I've been to eateries where I'd be turned off by what I saw as pretention by the inclusion of producers' names in the dish's title. Now, I see it as something to be proud of when it comes to supporting local producers. I'll admit--I wouldn't go to a restaurant and be very excited about ordering a Safeway Shipped-In Mixed Salad.