I made the Honey and Pine Nut Tart, the one pictured on the jacket, for a dinner party last night and wasn’t quite as thrilled with it as I had hoped to be. Luckily, my guests didn’t agree with me. They couldn’t have been happier when I offered to send the leftovers home with them.
The recipe itself annoyed me. She instructs you to make the Sweet Tart Crust for one 10-inch tart shell. But the recipe actually makes enough dough for one-and-a-half tarts. She says, “This recipe makes slightly more dough than you need for a 10-inch tart. After rolling out and trimming your tart shell, you can gather the scraps together and freeze them for up to 2 months; combining the scraps from the two batches will give you enough dough for another tart shell.” Well . . . c’mon! I’m probably not going to be making three tarts in two months. It was a very nice pastry; tasty, flaky, and easy to roll. But if she’s adjusting her recipes for the home baker, why not go all the way and give us a recipe that makes the amount we need?
And the filling, too, makes more than necessary. I was using a 9½-inch tart pan, but even with the specified 10-inch pan she says “The recipe may make just slightly more liquid custard than you need to fill the 10-inch tart shell; simply discard the extra custard rather than trying to overfill the shell.” “May” and “just slightly” were both understatements. Even with a 10-inch shell I’m guessing I would have had to throw out at least a half a cup of filling. I just don’t think that’s good recipe writing and it’s going to make me a bit leery of other recipes in the book.
But you want to know how it tasted, right? When I tasted the custard, before I poured it over the pine nuts and baked the tart, I thought it was just heavenly. Very sweet and buttery and caramel-like. It’s entirely possible that that tasting killed my appetite for the tart itself, because when I finally tried the finished tart, served as she suggested with a vanilla gelato, it seemed overly sweet and almost cloying. As I said, my guests clearly disagreed with me. But easy as this was to make, and attractive as it was to present, I don’t think I’ll return to it.
I know many of you were planning on trying recipes from this book over the holidays. I’d love to hear reports of what you’ve made and hope that my initial annoyance will be overcome by your experiences with the book.