It looks good, doesn’t it. It tastes good, too. If you don’t mind breaking your teeth. (Or, baking for the first time with a 10 week old puppy).

IMG_5283…a 10 week old puppy whose domain is the kitchen. These are salted caramel tartlets, from the delightful Patisserie at Home by Will Torrent, a birthday present that I have been avidly waiting to dive into. The recipes look delicious, brought to life by gorgeous photographs and plenty of them. I can’t wait to give them a try.

Fucking patisserie. The pastry is pâte sablée, which requires a dozen more processes than the good old sweet shortcrust that always works perfectly for me. The inside is brushed with melted chocolate. Hidden inside is a salted caramel filling. The topping is a chocolate ganache. The decorations are caramelised hazelnuts – made with nuts, sugar and, who knew, vodka. Crème diplomate (a “lighter” version of crème pâtissière…made with all the effort of crème pât plus some folded in whipped cream for good measure), And tempered chocolate. Not melted, tempered. With a thermometer. So it goes crisp and shiny. Or something.

1,2,3,4,5,6, the hours go by with surprising speed, until I get to the part that says: leave to rest overnight. Damn.

I try one anyway – who needs set ganache? I’ll do without the créme for tonight and take the photographs tomorrow. It tastes good, but when my teeth reach the middle of the tart they don’t go any further. I should have suspected it already. The caramel is more of a hard toffee, something akin to a Werther’s Original and most definitely not something that belongs in a delicate, melt in the mouth tartlet. (the pastry is also slightly too thick, the ganache a little grainy, the crème a tad lumpy. But ssssh, don’t tell anyone and I might get away with it).

But they tastes damn good, and I look forward to other beautiful challenges the book has to offer. And the puppy, Kipling (whose nominal associations combine a love of literature – Rudyard – and a love of cake – Mr) really is a delight. Even when he jumps with all four paws in the air on to my baking drawer. It’s a new trick he’s learnt. Just like my pâtisserie tricks. To be mastered.

My ever supportive girlfriend is eating one right now. “You might have had problems at every single stage”, she says, “but I’m not having any problems eating it.”


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