I was so sure that I had memorized beautifully the proportions of Julia Child’s pâte brisée, the foundation for a lovely quiche, tart, or pastry.. Essentially, a must-know for the Master Chef kitchen. Using the pâte as the canvas, I could easily “fill in”, more or less, mystery ingredients, expressing technique and appealing to any chef’s both internalized admiration for French food bien réalisé (well-executed) and good, old-fashioned comfort food (pâte brisée = pie crust, y’all. I mean, really.).
Currently, my list of “MUST MEMORIZE!” canvas & basics recipes includes:
Pâte brisée (tart, pastry, quiche dough)
Tortillita (Spanish-style tortillas)
Pasta (especially ravioli)
Which is in no way intimidating, at all. Not at all. Not. At. All.
But, taking things a day at a time, recipe by recipe, I thought I’d mark off that pâte brisée and move on to the next thing. I confidently strolled into the kitchen, sifted together 2 cups flour, a generous pinch of salt, cut up 5 tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces, and, never one to really remember to prepare, spooned in 3 tablespoons of room temperature shortening. I’m gonna refrigerate it anyway, so.. Yeah, I still should have some shortening in the fridge, but this is not the point.
I went to check myself later, using the recipe on Saveur as my guide, and found out I’d nearly cut the butter in half.
Having recently fallen in love with Ferdinand Point (“Butter! Give me butter! Always butter!”), this is a disastrous thing.
I’m sure the crust will be fine–definitely edible. But how intimidating! How will I ever remember twenty-two canvas recipes (there being 5 mother sauces)?! I’ve never needed to have memorized these things, and I guess I just don’t cook with dough enough to have memorized much so far.
But I guess it just works like this:
Memorize one (actually, not this fake memorization thing I did earlier with the pâte)
Memorize the next.
Memorize the next….
Memorize the next…………..
And eventually, Gordon Ramsay will be tweeting me LOLs and asking if he can “bring anything” to Thanksgiving. It’s as simple as that.0