Sunday 18 January 2009
Do you remember that time when cream pies were being thrown at foodbeam? Well, this would be so very appropriate. Again.
The thing is that, aside from the long overdue bûches de Noël manifesto and the launch of la moustache, I’ve made a promise to Tony. A promise about something very exciting.
A taste of Mediterranean. Seven months, seven countries, seven co-hosts, seven prizes. January is all about France. And being the damn-busy-blogger-which-never-actually-posts French girl that I am, Tony asked me to join the team.
We both agreed that tarts would be a pretty sweet theme. Traditional yet versatile. And the very essence of French pâtisserie.
So no cream pies for today; hopefully you’ll like the tarte bourdaloue just as much.
As with many of the pastries I make at home, this tart has its own story. You see, I had to make it. To get ready for my first exam as a pâtisserie apprentie. Yes, you read right. A pastry exam. How terrific does that sound to you?
I must admit, I felt that way too.
A French classic. Crisp and sweet pâte sucrée, rich crème d’amandes, and delicate poached pears. I’m not certain about it, but from memory, I’d say it was named after the street on which it was first created. La rue Bourdaloue.
And, take my words for granted, this tart alone make me wish I had made a little détour by that street.
The recipe, which was handed me down by the school, is too easy to follow to be true. A dream. The pâte sucrée – made of flour, butter, sugar and eggs – gives a sweet shortbread-like dough. Effortless yet one of the best pâtes sucrées I’ve ever made. It’s a treat to work with, making the whole rolling and draping process a matter of seconds. And promise, it won’t shrink in the oven!
The crème d’amandes is a creamy (pleonasm alert!) tart filling made of butter and ground almonds, with a hint of vanilla, and a little flour to bind it all.
The poached pears bring some nice texture, and since they’re not poached in syrup but in water (with many split vanilla beans) they tend to cut the sweetness.
Hopefully, this will have gotten you inspired and you’ll come up with a pretty pretty version of what you perceive as the ultimate French tart. But mostly, have fun and create. And you might end up winning a fifty-dollar gift certificate.
1. Make a tart.
2. Post about it on your blog.
3. Email me or Tony.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, Tony is way better than I am at explaining the rules.
As a side-note, I shall tell you the exam went really well. And yes, I’ll share the actual recipe for this tart soon, but well I’m in London right now with no access to my favourite recipe binder.
Coming up next (for good), she who felt like she lived in a forest made of golden plastic trees where the snow would be chocolate mousse.