When I decided to take on the task of baking recently, I immediately went to Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book. I am a firm believer in all or nothing; if I was going to bake, I was going to bake something delicious.
With experience baking from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book under my belt, I knew to take out my über-precise, scientific scale before starting this recipe. As some may know, Thomas Keller prefers using grams and weight to measure his ingredients. Although it may seem excessively precise, I must say that Keller has me converted. I love trying to get the perfect amount of weight on the scale so that it reads, for example, exactly “100.00g.” The measuring is pretty easy on an electric scale, but measurements do become more complicated when it comes to ingredients like eggs.
Thomas Keller, for those who are unaware, is a famous chef and restaurateur, known for The French Laundry in Napa. Keller’s father was a Marine drill sergeant, and you can see how influences of precision and order play a part in his sophisticated desserts and recipes.
After much debate, I decided to make the Apricot Flan Tart from the Bouchon Bakery book, which is described as “one of the simplest of all tarts.” The tart, I later (too late) discovered, really requires three days to make. The first to make the dough, the second to make the cake, and the third to be served after a night of chilling. I made it in two days: one for the dough, the second for making the cake and serving it too. It turned out great.
Apricots and Tahitian Vanilla Beans:
The Pâté-Brisée is rolled-out and ready for baking (the dough is made the night before and chilled in the fridge overnight):
Making the custard with vanilla seeds scraped from the centers of the vanilla beans – only the best and most fresh ingredients for Mr. Keller:
Straining the custard the first time around (out of a total of two times) before cooking it:
I made a shortcut with this recipe and did not chill the ready-made cake overnight before serving. It was fine. The tart crust is meant to be cut off very precisely at the edge of the custard; my cutting was less precise. C’est la vie. It was still delicious.