I’ve spent the last several months thinking about words and how they work. In college, I took the required english and grammar classes, but I was majoring in music so I mainly took them because I had to. I remember eagerly watching the clock in grammar class because, quite frankly, I could not have cared less about the reasons behind proper sentence structure. Now, I think about writing constantly. I bring this up because I’ve been working closely with my editors for months now revising the manuscript for my book before it goes to the printer next week. I’ve learned how to better write recipes, how to structure sentences, and why a conversational writer (such as myself) has such a hard time weeding through all the words I want to put on paper. I’m learning that less is more and I’ve also started doing writing exercises – voluntarily! No chance of that happening 15 years ago.
After working with two of my editors, I bought their books and read them, wishing I’d studied them years ago. Dianne Jacobs who wrote, ”Will Write For Food“ was my recipe editor and it fascinated me to see her take my recipes and write them clearly and concisely. I learned that many cooks don’t know terms such as “blanch or fold” and that it’s very important for the cook to have all the ingredients listed in the order in which they are used.
Paula Laroque was my copy editor and has a fabulous book titled, “The Book on Writing: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well.” I learned many wonderful pieces of wisdom from her throughout the editing process. She encourages writers to do an exercise using only single syllable words. Little did I know how difficult that would be. Her writing is so eloquent, I’ve kept all the emails she sent me while corresponding so I can go back and review her advice.
I also learned from my book designer that now-a-days we’re only supposed to put a single space after the end of a sentence. I was astounded when she told me and thought, “Where have I been?” I still haven’t gotten used to that one and before I post I have to manually go through and take out all the extra spaces.
I’ve laughed many times in the last few months at my suddenly newfound interest in writing, just as I’m wrapping up my first book. I have a long way to go and can’t wait to see the developments in my writing over the next many years.
Milky Way Tart
Adapted from Bon Appetit
3 ½ ounces bittersweet organic chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup organic whole cane sugar or Sucanat
3 tablespoons cacao powder
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ stick unsalted butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
3 tablespoons water
Cacao powder (for dusting)
Place chocolate in medium bowl. Simmer 1 ½ cups cream in a small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours. (This can be done the day before)
Pulse flour, cane sugar, and cacao powder in a food processor until mixed. Add butter and pulse 15-17 times until dough begins to come together. Add a tablespoon of water and pulse 2-3 more times until dough is moist, but not tacky. If dough is still dry, add one more tablespoon of water. Pour dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and press into a ball. Wrap plastic around dough and then flatten into a disk. Freeze dough for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚ F and adjust rack to middle position. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thick rectangle large enough to fit your tart pan. Place rolled dough over tart pan and press gently onto bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze for ten minutes. Line the crust with parchment paper and then fill with pie weights or beans. Bake crust for 15 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Place ½ cup cream and butter in small saucepan and st
ir over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from the heat. Stir whole cane sugar and 3 tablespoons water in another medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Increase the heat and bring sugar to a low boil without stirring. Boil until temperature reaches 235°F swirling pan frequently. Immediately whisk in hot cream-butter mixture (mixture will bubble vigorously). Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Transfer caramel to small bowl and chill until slightly firm (semi-soft), stirring often, about 40 minutes.
Spread caramel in an even layer over cooled crust. Set aside.
Beat chilled milk chocolate-cream mixture with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Spread evenly over caramel and chill at least 2 hours. Just before serving, lightly sift cacao powder over tart. The tart can be made 8 hours ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
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