Friday, October 8, 2010
French Fridays with Dorie: Gérard's Mustard Tart
I shake my head as I walk in the store and see all sorts of tart pans. It's not going to be an easy decision. Big, little, individual, circular, rectangular, traditional and nonstick. Thank God I'm by myself because I know I'll be standing there forever.
My eye immediately goes to the gorgeous, elongated, rectangular tart pans screaming for beautiful fillings. I imagine sweet and savory versions gracing my table. It's the one that I really want and I'd love to have it. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy those terribly cute individual tart pans. Why do they have to be so petite and cute? The girl in me wants them. They're so adorable. Visions of brunch with the girls oohing and aahing over my cute individual tarts run through my mind. The Mom in me sets them down and returns to reality. Brunch with the girls...I must be dreaming. I pick up the standard, traditional and circular tart pan. I've picked it up before. I know it's the one I should buy, but nothing about it excites me. Sure, it's pretty, but it's really just your everyday tart pan. I know I'll appreciate it, but I won't admire it in the same way I admired the others.
In the back of my mind I realize that there's some symbolism involved in my decision. I'm equating those tart pans to my life. On one hand, being a housewife is a wonderful thing and for the most part I do enjoy it. On the other hand, it can be rather mundane and monotonous, each day running into the next without much change. That traditional circular tart pan reminds me of everyday. Predictable, standard, reliable, even boring at times. Over the years, I've picked up that tart pan several times and I always put it back. I just couldn't give in to it. This, my friends, is the sole reason that I've never made a tart before.
A couple of days ago, I bit the bullet and bought the traditional tart pan. I didn't give myself time to think about all my issues. I was in a hurry. When I brought it home everyone asked me what I bought and I replied "nothing". I set it on the counter and it sat there for days, staring at me. No one asked me about it.
When Thursday rolled around I knew I better face it. It was time to start my Mustard Tart for French Fridays with Dorie. The tart dough requires chilling time, therefore I wanted to make the dough the day before. This morning I got out all the ingredients for the tart: tart dough, steamed carrots and leeks, eggs, cream and two different types of mustard. Simple, but beautiful ingredients.
I partially baked the tart dough. Once cooled, I poured the egg, cream, and mustard mixture into the tart. As I was artfully arranging the steamed carrot and leek batons, I was in awe. This simple, traditional, everyday tart pan was turning into something absolutely beautiful! I knew instantly that it would be something I would be proud of!
When I opened up the oven I was ecstatic with the results. A perfectly golden crust. A beautifully colored tart. The wonderful, light scent of mustard, one of my favorite things. It was beautiful, colorful, and exciting. I looked at my first tart with admiration. I took a bite and fell in love with it. Nope, nothing everyday or mundane with this tart! It was fresh, fragrant and exciting in every way.