Perhaps, one of the greatest compliments my Mother ever gave me was when she said, “You bake just like your Bammieroo!” Translation: You are too messy!
I suppose this trait was inherited because my Grandmother didn’t teach me how to cook; if anyone it was my sister Tina – and I don’t remember her being a messy cook, but being messy myself I don’t suppose I’m a good judge.
I’ve always believed messiness was a relative term. Now that my kitchen is the size of my thumb it seems perpetually much messier than my previous two kitchens ever were! And as a side note, on the off chance that any architects might be reading this blog, this cook doesn’t consider the space underneath kitchen cupboards as ‘counter space’. Growing up I remember my Mother unceasingly grumbling about the placement of her kitchen cupboards – the majority of which were placed straight above the sizable island, whose size was wholly diminished by those cupboards. I remember returning home from school one day, as my parents took it upon themselves to move the cupboards from above the island to their new place against the wall: brilliant!!!
Another thing: In whose mind is it a good idea to do laundry in the kitchen? I understand the plumbing issue, in terms of convenience, but the only people for whom this is convenient is the builders.
When Gabriel and I were first married, he discovered early on that while I love baking I despise doing dishes (this is not the aspect my Mother was referring to – she was alluding to the flour on the face and floor type of messiness). Gabriel is a wonderful person for more reasons than bills being printed currently by the United States government, one of which is that he always does the dishes for me. And in this thumb sized kitchen, that’s a pretty hefty and continuous job.
This dessert was inspired by Tartelette, and as such, I am naming my tiny creations after her inspiring vision. These little tartelettes incorporate a delicate balance of soft and mildly sweet cream and posses a faint tender allure of spice. Just what a little heart needs no matter the reason or season.
Crust: Flaky Butter
Tartelettes: Walnut Pear
Garnish: Gobs of freshly whipped cream
Helen gives credit for this crust to Dorie Greenspan
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 stick of butter
Pulse in a food processor or blender until small pebble shaped balls form
Add 1 egg yolk and pulse until dough forms a ball
If using a blender, you may only be able to get so far along in this process, and will need to knead the dough to fully incorporate the egg
Roll dough thinly between two sheets of wax paper and lay in tart pan so that it forms the shape of the pan
Bake at 350° for 3-5 minutes
Because you will bake the tart in this shell for additional time later, it is not necessary to bake the crust fully at this stage
This filling is enough for a 9″ tart pan, 4 mini tart pans and plus a little remaining
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts (or your choice of nut)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Grind all ingredients in blender until smooth
Cut 4 pears and arrange on the bottom of pan when crust has cooled
Pour filling over the pears to fill the pan
Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until set and golden brown