I think I am in a serious post-vacation rut. It's been really hard to get back into the swing of work (which I guess might be a sign of burnout) and generally speaking, I feel kind of...blah. I'm actually pretty busy but I sort of wish I could just curl up and hibernate for a while.
The blahness has even extended to my baking. I am just not feeling very excited about it. For starters, it's too hot now to turn the oven on much--one of the big downsides to our apartment is that turning the oven on heats the whole place. So, I either have to wait for a cooler day or do my baking early in the morning or late at night. The net result is that I am just not baking very much.
So it's super frustrating that I DID actually have plans to make some little desserts to bring to a party and it was just a big giant pile of fail. The plan was to make mini raspberry cream chocolate tarts, and at first everything seemed to be going fine--the pastry cream and tart dough both came together very quickly and all I really had to do to finish was to blind bake the tart cases and fold raspberries into the pastry cream. I made the tart cases in my mini-muffin pan (shocking) and they seemed to bake up just fine, with none of the shrinking or cracking that I sometimes get....but the shells, when cool, were SUPER fragile. But since they were meant as single bite desserts, I thought that perhaps this would not be a big problem.
Then I retrieved my pastry cream and it had chilled into a solid mass! I mean, really solid. Like, play-doh solid. I ran the immersion blender through it, which loosened it up (especially once I added the raspberry puree) but...it was a little lumpy and not silky smooth like pastry cream usually is. Sigh. But okay, I can pretend the lumps are raspberry seeds. So, I put together a test tart with a spoonful of cream and a raspberry on top and presented it to Sir Didymus...and as soon as he took it, it fell apart in his hand (and all over the floor). GRRR!!!! Well, at least they look nice in the photos and they taste okay.
So, to cut this already too-long tale short, I left the desserts at home and we bought a bottle of sake instead. Phooey. And now I have shattery tart shells and lumpy pastry cream languishing in my fridge. Suggestions for using them up would be MUCH appreciated!
(I'm not going to share the recipes here since they did not produce very good results for me. I mean, it was probably my fault but I want to tweak them...if I ever dare make this again.)