Monday, October 17, 2011

Baking Tips from the Local Grocer.

As I write this post, my lemon tart is in the oven. I hope and pray that it's good--it's my first time trying this recipe, which I found in one of my fashion magazines. I tend to steal a lot of recipes from either my fashion magazines (the ones in food mags are too complex) or from friends. I like simple stuff, with one or two steps. This tart seemed easy enough for me to make--until, that is, I realized that I did not know the exact difference between a tart shell and a pie shell.

It all started when I talked to my friend Katrina, who is an excellent chef. She told me that the frozen pie crust I'd just purchased from Publix was, in fact, not what I needed for the recipe. So after work, I actually went back to Publix and approached the customer service desk with my pie crust reject and another crust made of graham cracker. I had no idea what I was doing.

"Help me," I implored. "I don't know what a tart crust is."

Turns out, neither did the teenaged guy who was at the customer service desk. He called over this self-important chick from the bakery to help. She of course knew the difference between the shells, and decided neither of the ones I had at the counter were correct. Next thing I knew we were on a wild goose chase all over Publix for the right pastry.

She led me to the freezer section and handed me a box of dough. "Just unroll this and put it over your pie shell, then it'll be more tart-like," she explained. With everything she said she had this air of authority like Betty Crocker had been her aunt or something.

"But the recipe doesn't have a pastry top," I insisted. "It's just lemon filling in a crust! It's a one-step recipe that I got from Glamour!" 

"Hmm..." she replied with a furrowed brow.

After a few more minutes of deliberating, we finally decided that I should just stick with my original pie crust. I was amused that I'd come all the way to Publix to keep my same crust, but I felt satisfied that the bakery expert had approved it.

"Just pre-cook the crust a little to make it harder, like a tart," she said. "It'll work fine."

So now, said crust and filling are in my oven. I feel pretty anxious to taste it when it comes out. This particular tart is a trial run, before I make another one to take to work for the bake sale. So if it sucks, I guess I'm going back to Publix and letting what's-her-name make me something.

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