Are you an early bird Chirstmas shopper or a last minute frantic Christmas shopper?
I'm totally an early bird shopper. Big surprise from the girl who was stoked on Christmas in August.
Three years ago, I went out and bought every gift for every person. Like, I physically went out to stores all over town over the course of a few weekends and took the 45 minute packed bus rides with bags and bags of gifts, bumping into people and trying to squeeze my bags through the crowds.
The year after that, I was busy interning and going to pastry school for 13 hours almost every day so there was barely enough time for sleep, let alone traipsing about town in search of perfect holiday gifts. So, the perfect gifts had to be found online, which wasn't too hard. This year, I'm working 11 hours a day so once again I will turn to my beloved internet. But it's not the same.
I really enjoy searching out the gifts, buying them and bringing them home myself. It's like hunting and gathering your own food rather than buying it at the store.
Okay, it's not really like that I guess, but I think you know what I mean. With online shopping, it's just a click of a button and then you've bought something. It's too easy.
Now don't get me wrong, without online shopping, everyone would be getting diddly-squat from me this year. I am thankful for online shopping. But I wish I could do the real shopping. Minus the crowds. No one likes the Christmas crowds.
What spurred me on to write this post was actually coming home last night and seeing a package from Amazon leaning against my door. At first, I was confused. And then I remembered, "Oh yeah, I did buy those gifts a few days ago... Huh." I actually forgot that I had even bought gifts! And there they were! I felt so bad. I think I'm just feeling guilty that I'm not making a big shebang out of getting the gifts for people, like it should be a big event instead of just a click of a button.
Despite my guilty feelings, I'm still going to enjoy wrapping those gifts this weekend. I'm going to sit on the floor with a mug of tea, surrounded by wrapping, tape, ribbons, string, and scissors. My cat will sit on the wrapping paper and try to eat the tape, ribbons, and string. I'll have the Christmas music radio station playing, the lights on, and the fireplace on (it's gas). And all those silly guilty feelings with vanish.
Cranberry Orange Frangipane Tart
Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
187 g all-purpose flour
23 g icing sugar (#1)
47 g icing sugar (#2)
23 g almond meal
112 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
28 g egg
22 g egg yolks
18 g sugar
5 g all-purpose flour
45 g whole milk
45 g heavy cream
4 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Orange Almond Cream
73 g almond meal
7 g all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
73 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
73 g icing sugar
44 g eggs
zest of 1 orange
200 g almond cream
100 g pastry cream
200 g frozen cranberries
First, make the pâte sucrée. Sift the flour, 23 g of icing sugar (#1) and 23 g of almond meal into a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-low speed until the butter in the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Sift in the 47 g of icing sugar (#2) and pulse to begin to incorporate the sugar, then increase the speed to medium-low and mix for about 1 minute, until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing for 15 to 30 seconds after each, until just combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Add the egg and mix on low speed until just combined, 15 to 30 seconds.
Transfer the dough to the work surface. Use the heel of your hand to smear the dough and work it together. Shape into a 3/4 inch thick disk. Wrap in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Take the dough out about 30 minutes before you intend to use it to soften it and make it easier to roll out. Have a 9 inch fluted tart ring out and ready.
Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough, from the centre outward and keeping the circular shape, until it is 3/4 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. If the dough is too soft, gently transfer to the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once your dough is the correct size, place your rolling pin at the edge of the disk. Gently fold the dough over the rolling pin and roll up the dough around the pin. Transfer to your tart ring and unroll the dough. Press gently against the sides and into the bottom edges. This dough is very delicate and cracks will happen. Using the dull side of a small paring knife, trim the dough and use the excess to patch up any holes. Try to keep the thickness of the tart even.
Freeze the dough for 30 minutes.
For the pastry cream, combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Place over medium heat.
Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
When the milk mixture has come to a boil, slowly pour a small amount into the yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Continue tempering the yolks with the milk mixture, then transfer all of back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture has thickened, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook for another minute, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over an ice bath. After a few minutes, whisk in the butter.
Let the pastry cream cool completely. Transfer to a covered container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. The pastry cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
For the almond cream, sift the almond flour into a medium bowl and break up any lumps remaining in the sieve. Add the all-purpose flour and cinnamon and whisk together.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low until the butter is the consistency of mayonnaise and holds a peak when the paddle is lifted. Sift in the icing sugar and mix on the lowest setting until incorporated, then increase the speed to ow and mix until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the almond mixture in two additions, pulsing to combine and then mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each one. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have settled there.
Add the egg and mix on low speed until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the orange zest and mix on low speed until combined and smooth, about 15 seconds Transfer to a covered container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. The almond cream can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
For the frangipane, combine the pastry cream and the orange almond cream and stir to combine. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium circular tip.
For assembling the tart, pipe a spiral of frangipane into the unbaked tart shell, starting in the center and continuing until you have reached the edges. Scatter the frozen cranberries evenly over the frangipane and press down gently to keep them in their place.
Place the tart in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve at room temperature or cold. Dust with icing sugar immediately before serving.