In Part IV of the Jenny Stalker Series, I chose my next victim with great care and contemplation. There are so many great food bloggers to stalk out there and so little time to do the job justice. After many nano-seconds of deliberation, I decided to stalk the oh so handsome, Zen Chef. I chose him because I complained about his recipes being 100 times above my skill levels and his only response was, “come on, it’s just a tart…follow my recipe and you’ll be fine.” Ha, i thought, I’ll show that pompous Frenchman! [Totally kidding about him being pompous. Dead serious about him being a Frenchman.]
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t visited Zen Chef’s site, go over and take a look. He’s got some ah-maaahhhzing photos there. oh yeah – the recipes look good, too. Maybe if I weren’t so cooking challenged, I might be able to make some of them…like the souffle. But we’re not here today to talk about his “easy” souffles [pffft]. We’re here to focus on his tarts. Wow. That really didn’t come out right.
Step 1: READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE. twice.
Step 2: Send 3…no 4 emails to him asking him about recipe substitutions, additions, variations, the weather, his life…you know, general stalker stuff.
Step 3: Get an email from his lawyers asking me to cease and desist.
Step 4: Feel really bad about lying about step 3…oh, FINE…yes, about step 1, too.
Step 5: Go to the store to buy my missing ingredients.
Step 6: Return home. Incredibly hot out. Decide to relax and have a beverage to cool off.
Step 7: Lay out all the ingredients, measure out, cut up, grease up, fire up.
Step 8: Sit down on my couch from all the prep work I just did and have another beverage.
Step 9: Send tweet to @ZenChef telling him how much I really dislike his stupid tart.
Step 10: Really get a cease and desist letter from his lawyer.
Step 11: Decide it’s time to make the tart crust.
Step 12: Really puzzled by the instructions to “process until combined.” Huh…I wonder what that means…What if i over process it and it turns into a hockey puck?? what if i under process it and can’t get it to stick together?? Wait. Chill it for an HOUR?! crap. I should’ve started this earlier.
Step 13: Time to start on the filling. I realize too late that I really should’ve read the darn recipe. Back out to the store to get some things I forgot the first time. Decide to go ahead and get the cognac instead of using the brandy I had at home. Never tried Cognac before…
Step 14: OH MY GOSH…Cognac iS inCreDiBly sTroNg…mUst Lie bACk dOwN agAiN.
Step 15: Finish making the almond cream. Easy peasy. Hey…this stuff is tasty.
Step 16: Press the crust in my cute little tart tins. Hmmm…this is melting quickly. ummm…shoot. Throw it in the freezer to get it to firm up quickly. I’m sure this is going to bite me in the @$$…that some baking God is going to smote me for freezing it. Take it out of the freezer and fill the crust with the almond cream.
Step 17: Pick through my figs, eating the bad ones…man, there’s a lot of bad ones. Uh oh. Not sure if I have enough left for the filling. Cook figs per instructions taste testing every few minutes…
Step 18: Start whisking the custard. THREE minutes? Glance over at the clock…it’s only been a minute and my arm is already killing me. Look down at the eggs and sugar. Hmmm…looks whisked enough. ONE minute it is.
Step 19: Look in the oven to see the almond cream had puffed all right – puffed right out of the shell…not sure how I’m going to fit the figs and custard. *SIGH*
Step 20: throw on the figs, custards, and almonds…
Step 21: Wait patiently for 50 minutes during which time I knit, clean, answer emails, write up my Tofu blog, read a few chapters of my book, figure out the answer to world peace and promptly forget that I’m still baking.
Step 22: RUN, I mean RUN, to my kitchen to take the “well done” tarts out of the oven. Let cool off.
Step 23: Take a bite. HOLY CRAP, BATMAN. Wow. i mean, WOW. This shizz is GOOD.
Step 24: Send a Tweet to @Zenchef saying, “I formally apologize for ever doubting your genius. Tart crust came out fan-freaking-tastic. The whole recipe was awesome.”
For the full recipe, please visit Zen Chef’s post. It really is a great recipe! I just got a bit overzealous in filling the tart with the frangipane…and completely forgot about it in the oven. Yes, I’ve heard of a timer. I just forgot to set it.
I’ve been following/stalking/reading his blog for a couple of years now and this is the first time I’ve ever attempted any of his recipes. I have to admit that this won’t the last time I will ever stalk him again. [now would be a good time for him to change his email address.]
* oh yeah…because I’m a big enough person to admit it, even in very fine print, I concede that the frenchman was correct and I was wrong. If i could’ve written this in a smaller font, I would have.