Sucumbing to temptation: Harissa, Almond and Chocolate Tart
from Boulettes Larder, Mise En Place for your Home Pantry
Every Saturday morning without fail, unless I am out of town, I go to the Farmer's Market at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Yawn. I am sure people all over the world are sick about reading about that darned Farmers Market and Food Plaza. But that's tough, I'm afraid. Since there is enough eating material available in that space to keep my soul and my stomach occupied for years, I'm certain I'll be returning there for as long as I am physically able to.
Boulettes Larder is a food lovers dream store: Dream in the sense that this is the kitchen that anyone who truly enjoys to cook would love to have for themselves. Those same obsessed home cooks may not actually like to shop at Boulette's larder since the delectables the Boulette team produce are just the kind of thing any self-respecting fanatical home cook would hope to be able to create for themselves, right? Stock? I'll make it myself, Pepperonata? I can do that, easy, peasy. Lard? I'll render a block of that, no problem. Gravadlax? I'll cure my own, thank you very much. Fancy chocolate tart? It's not out of my realm either.
As much as I aspire to make absolutely everything for myself from scratch all the time, sometimes it just ain't going to happen. Not least because it is dangerous if you make up a batch of several desserts and end up eating them all yourself. This is when a place like Boulette's larder, with its beautiful array of homemade cakes, pastries, cookies and desserts can save the day, by providing a little sweet something to statisfy any desires.
Sometimes I just dash through the store and (after paying) quickly pop a thumbprint cookie in my mouth like I did a few weeks ago with Julie. More often than not, I stand in the middle of the beautiful, bustling room a minute it or two, gaze at all the wonderful things on offer and then move on from my day dream without purchasing a thing.
For weeks and weeks now, the Harissa, Almond and Chocolate Tart has been the object of my attention. On Saturday I finally caved in and bought one. It cost $6.50 and was beautifully packaged for me in a little box with delicate folds of pale yellow tissue paper. I carefully transported it home as a treat for my lunch.
The tart's ability to make it home in one piece, despite being jostled along with bags of tomatoes, warm loaves, large, perfectly ripe avocados, milk and cheese is a testament to its thick crust. The rigid walls of the perfect-looking pate sucree helps keep the tart intact and is delciously buttery and rich. But the thickness of the pastry that guarantees the structure of this dessert also overwhelms the ethereal, smooth, mysterious chocolate ganache that it holds. The ratio of filling to crust is off kilter resulting in a tart that is heavy to chew on instead of being a more delicate balance of crunchy casing to smooth filling.
I am not too worried, my Boulettes chocolate tart obsession has run its course and I can move on. Now, tell me, should I try their canelle, their Gateau Basque or one of their fruit tarts with the rose petal pastry cream next time I feel the itch..?
PS Talking of CAKE - it is the September challenge for Foodography hosted on Flickr. Check Andrew's post for more details.