Friday, October 29, 2010

Tarte Tropezienne

I had a week break from blogging and I've found it difficult to get myself back on track after a break no matter how long it is which I could find nothing to blame but my pure laziness! Strange but true though that once I get it (re)started, I couldn't stop myself from doing it because there seem to be indefinite things to cook/bake and I'd like to share them here !

Now talking about the title of this post, Tarte Tropezienne, A simple pastry that is actually easy to prepare, it’s a cake with thick pastry cream sandwiched by two layers of brioche, a fluffy, buttery, sweet bread, and lightly dusted with powdered sugar on top.The Trop├ęzienne is actually Polish, having been brought over to France by a Polish baker named Alexandre Micka living in St. Tropez. In 1955 he was hired to cater for a film crew working on a movie by Roger Vadim, starring unknown actors at the time. Each day the baker was requested to make even more of his very popular “tarte.” One of the people working in the film, a 21-year old unknown actress, suggested to the baker that he name the tarte, “la tarte Trop├ęzienne.”

When I first had a quick look through the recipe, it seemed complicated with a long list of ingredients and preparation but when I carefully and intendedly read the whole recipe..I then found out that this gorgeous tarte is easy-peasy to make..what you need is time and being patient ! There are many recipes that can get a tarte done within a few hours or so but I chose the one that needs more time to get the dough ready to be baked becasue I personally thought that it's a proper way to make brioche!

By the way, I have to confess that this is not the first time I made it! After the first outcome failed to please myself and my husband which I figured out that what was wrong with it is a weird taste of the cream filling caused by kirch and orange flower this time I decided to leave them out and added vanilla bean instead..

I was very happy with the brioche base which came out exactly the same as  the first time and the cream filling was definitely better than the previous one although it's not thick and set as I expected even after being left overnight in the fridge but it's forgivable once I tasted it!

Have a look at the photos below and judge it by yourself!!

Here is my version..

The dough :

1+1/3 C Bread flour
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
1 t active dried yeast
2 T warm milk
2 eggs
100 g butter, softened and cut into several pieces
1 egg + 1T milk for egg wash

The Cream Filling :

1 C milk
1 vanilla bean
1/4 C sugar
3 yolks
1 T cornstarch
1 T flour
2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
50 ml whipping cream
1/2 T honey

Crumb Topping :

20 g butter @ room temp
2 T sugar
3 T + 2 t flour

Combine the warm milk and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand for a few minutes, then stir until the yeast is completely dissolved.

Sift together the flours, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the eggs and beat for 1 minute at low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dissolved yeast and continue beating at low speed for 5 minutes. Stop the machine, scrape dough off the hook, and beat for another 5 minutes.

Add the butter a few pieces at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Once all the butter has been added, beat for 10 minutes more.Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 to 3 hours.

Deflate the dough gently. Working your way around the bowl, take the edges of the dough, lift up and gently drop inward. Either cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or place the dough in a large plastic bag that has been very lightly oiled and refrigerate overnight. The brioche will continue to proof.

For the crumb topping, place the softened butter in a small bowl and mix the sugar in with a fork. Add the flour and mix with your hand, pinching the mixture together to form large and small crumbs. Refrigerate.

Once the dough is ready, place on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment. Pat it gently into a 9” circle about 3/4” tall. Let the dough rise uncovered in a warm place for about an hour.Preheat oven to 400°F.

Gently brush the top of the brioche with egg wash and sprinkle with the streusel. Bake the brioche in the center of the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. Start checking at 12 minutes; the brioche should be soft, puffed and golden. Remove the brioche from the oven and immediately take the brioche off the baking sheet and place onto a wire rack to cool.

For the pastry cream, slightly boil the milk and cut length-way vanilla bean , then set aside. Whisk the sugar with the egg yolks until pale. Add the flour and cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Discard the vanilla bean, gradually add 1/2 of the hot milk to the sugar-yolk mixture, whisking vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Take off the heat and cool a bit. Pour into a bowl and cool slightly. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate until chill thoroughly.

Whip the cream with the honey until soft peaks form. Fold half the whipped cream into the pastry cream to loosen it up. Fold in remaining cream until smooth.

To assemble, cut brioche in half horizontally. Smooth cream mixture over bottom layer, and place second layer gently on top. Chill before serve.

Ps. This post has been submitted to yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast

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