Nutless Frangipane Tarte
by McGonagirl, Dumbledwarf, Hermi2
Hermione had been spending part of her summer working at the pastry shop of superstar chef, Joaquim Bullshot. She'd discovered that his shop sold delectable treats to both wizards and muggles, and she had been giving some thought to her future and wanted to know how he did it. When Molly Weasley invited Hermione to come visit on her days off, she brought a tarte she'd helped make at the shop called a pear frangipane -- frangipane is a mixture of pastry cream (a from-scratch vanilla pudding) and almond cream. But alas, Ginny Weasley couldn't taste it -- she was allergic to all sorts of nuts, including peanuts, even though they are technically a bean.
Poor Ginny had to watch while the rest of her family devoured the delicious confection, and Hermione felt very bad for her. Surely, there must be a replacement for almonds, or even a spell to cancel out the effects on Ginny's system? But no, Chef Bullshot only dealt with classical French preparations, and he knew of no substitution. As for a spell, the chef was a squib -- a child born of wizard parents with no wizard abilities. No help there ...
Molly Weasley knew that Hermione had thought she committed a faux pas against Ginny, and suggested the girl talk to the Two Fat Saxon Witches. Hermione had heard of them -- they were famous in the wizarding world, though no one knew exactly why -- and she knew that many witches and wizards were in awe of the two large ladies. Even Mrs. Weasley agreed they were formidable and it would not do for anyone to cross them. But she did come to know them through attending classes -- with complimentary chits via Mr. Weasley's job at the Ministry of Magic -- and sent an owl asking if they could help Hermione in her quest to find a nut substitute?
Errol, the Weasley owl, was old and not 100% reliable, so it took a while for a reply to come; when it did, the Witches said they'd see Hermione, but only at that very hour! With no time to plan, Hermione traveled by floo to the designated fireplace, and stood between the two fat witches and tried to understand what they were saying and showing her -- not always easy when her thoughts were scrambled for lack of time for preparation, and because the two witches would often talk in heavy accents over one another, often arguing between themselves over one point or another. Sometimes the blonde one would gesture wildly when the brunette one refused to listen to her! It was very dizzying for Hermione.
But when they finally sent her back to the Weasleys, Hermione had some very good ideas as to how to solve the problem, and she came up with two solutions. The resulting tartes were rather different: the soynut tarte was more like a sweet, smooth custard; the cornmeal-based frangipane produced a firmer tarte with a light, distinct corny flavor. There was a bit of each cream leftover, so Hermione blended them into a third tarte -- and this was was a good compromise between the properties of the two. It was closest to the original almond cream-based frangipane.
Ginny ate them all with gusto, glad to not be left out after all. She declared they were simply the most delicious things she'd ever had, even better than anything her mum had made! Hermione blushed and apologized to Mrs. Weasley, who couldn't talk because she was too busy sampling, too!
Return the mixture into the pot you'd boiled the milk and cook over low heat, whisking continuously. When the mixture comes to a slow boil it should thicken. Whisk harder and cook for another minute, reducing the heat if you need to, to prevent burning or curdling. Strain the hot pastry cream through a fine sieve to remove the vanilla bean chunks as well as any chunks of scrambled egg (there should not be much). Use a spatula to help push the thickened mixture through.
Chill this mixture with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface, like for pudding. Allowing air between the wrap and the surface of the pastry cream will cause a skin to form, or condensation will drip down onto the surface. Cool on the counter to room temperature, then refrigerate till needed.
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