French Monkfish Stew (Lotte à L’Américaine/L’Armoricaine)

I love this easy monkfish recipe and each time I make it, the family ask why we don’t have it more often. That’s coming from my eldest daughter who doesn’t even like white fish!  This French Monkfish stew is normally served on special occasions and is known as both Lotte à L’Américaine and Lotte à L’Armoricaine.

This recipe was originally published on le blog on 19 July 2016. As it is a popular recipe here, I have updated it to include a printable recipe card, a short video and more about the history of this French dish.

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french monkfish stew no bones

A French Fish Dish For Special Occasions

When first starting out in Paris nearly 30 years ago, I remember being bowled over by this dish cooked by Antoine’s friends. It’s a regional speciality of Brittany: a chic yet simple French Monkfish stew, Lotte à l’Armoricaine is cooked in white wine, garlic, onions and tomatoes with that extra French touch of being flambéed with Cognac.

It was the first time we were served fish for the main course at a French dinner and boy, did it leave a delicious mark on me.  The fish was firm and tasty and somehow the fish hadn’t disintegrated into the sauce.  It was so good, that I eventually managed to persuade them to tell me the recipe and over the years, I’ve made it in this way with more garlic and a hint of Cayenne pepper to give it that intriguing and subtle kick.

I often read in French cookbooks that the best way to serve monkfish is either roasted or grilled – but served as this classic French monkfish stew, you’ll discover just how a simple fish dish can be taken to another level.

rue de la poissonnerie french sign

Lotte à L’Américaine or Lotte à L’Armoricaine?

Later, I discovered this monkfish dish on some Parisian restaurant menus as Lotte à l’Américaine. Had they made a mistake? No. In our French gourmet dictionary, Larousse Gastronomique, it’s only known as Lotte à L’Américaine.

Both names refer to the SAME dish, although the Breton Armoricaine version adds a touch of crème fraîche at the end of cooking.

Let me tell you the story of the two names, although it’s a bit rough around the edges and can’t find any more on the subject.

The sauce à l’Armoricaine is a traditional French recipe from coastal Brittany where it is most commonly prepared with shellfish, or used to flavour firm white-fleshed fish such as La Lotte or Monkfish– otherwise known as poor man’s lobster.

The story dates back to the end of the 19th century when it was created by French chef Pierre Fraisse, originally from Sète who had returned to Paris from working in the USA. A group of clients arrived in his restaurant, Peter’s, and he realised all he had was tomorrow’s lobster: so he rustled up a lobster dish in a tomato sauce, reminiscent of his native South with Breton overtones. When prompted for the name of the recipe, he called it Lobster – with an American Sauce.

french monkfish stew rice beans

Monkfish: No Small Bones

Monkfish, or la lotte in French, is normally presented on our fish stalls without the ugly head – I’ve rarely seen it here hence I have no photos but if you look it up, you’ll see it’s a specimen that would be the bad guy in a film like Nemo! Hence why it’s also known as “sea-devil” (diable de mer) or “frog-fish” (crapaud).

How many times have you been served fish and you’re trying to filter out the bones in your mouth while juggling polite chit-chat at the table?

Once the large central bone is removed, there are NO OTHER BONES in sight – making it perfect to serve for special occasions.

What Does Monkfish Taste Like?

All the monkfish meat is in the tail (queue de lotte) and I say ‘meat’ as it’s a firm, ‘meaty’ fish. Also referred to as “Poor Man’s Lobster”, it even tastes a bit like it, as it has quite a sweet taste to it. So, it’s a fish version of lobster that’s slightly cheaper! Moreover, when cooked the fish doesn’t flake.

monkfish french market display

Monkfish – Perfect for Cooking

My daughter, Julie, says it outright. She just doesn’t like fish, especially white fish and yet will eat monkfish – only if done this way with such a delicious, thick tomato sauce. What’s more, it’s healthy too.

Monkfish is perfect for cooking as it doesn’t break up in cooking (as long as you follow the instructions below). The secret is to remove the fish after initially browning it on all sides and then TAKE IT OFF THE HEAT to cook the sauce.

Just add the fish back in to the pot 10 minutes before the end of cooking.  That way the fish is beautifully cooked. As fish is quite expensive, I like to respect it: overcooking will just turn the fish medallions into bullets, so please don’t leave the fish to cook all during the recipe.

french monkfish stew

Do I Need to Make Fish Stock?

I used to make a fish stock for this recipe but over time I have become rather lazy and honestly don’t see a  difference in flavour with this version. See my video for details.

If you really want to make your own fish stock, ask your fishmonger for the skin and bone to be packaged separately to make your own fish stock (see note below).
Fish Stock Tip: as you’re leaving the fish stock to cool, tell anyone lurking around the kitchen what it is: the first time I made this as a student, my Dad poured my precious hard-worked fish stock down the sink thinking it was dirty water!

Another reason why I don’t bother!  See the recipe below.

French monkfish casserole

How To Serve French Monkfish Stew

Whether dishing this up for family or for a dinner party, I love to serve this directly from the cooking pot at the table.

Serve with fluffy rice and green beans; for stress-free entertaining, I prepare the green beans in advance until just cooked, then plunge into chilled water (to stop the cooking process) then drain and keep aside until ready to serve.  At the last minute, I sauté the beans (haricots vert) in olive oil with finely chopped garlic and fresh parsley.

This dish is also perfect for serving outdoors. Serve with a chilled rosé and plenty of laughter with lively conversation.

french monkfish stew pin

French Monkfish Stew
(Lotte à L’Américaine/Armoricaine)

5 from 11 votes
French Monkfish Stew (Lotte à L'Américaine/Armoricaine)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

An easy Monkfish recipe from France using meat from the monkfish tail cooked in tomatoes, garlic, onions, white wine, Cognac and served with rice - a perfect dish for special occasions

Course: Main, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: easy fish recipes, French Monkfish classic dish, Lotte à l'Américaine
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 488 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
  • 2 kg (5lb) Large monkfish tail fillets (already prepared)
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 50 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp Cognac (if no Cognac, use Whisky)
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 tin (400g) peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée (concentrate)
  • 400 ml (14 floz) white wine
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 branch fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)
  1. Cut the monkfish tail fillets into large medallion chunks.

    Coat the fish lightly in the flour on a large plate.Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-based crockpot (dutch oven) and once slightly bubbling, add the fish. Lightly brown on all sides then add the Cognac. Take the pan off the heat and flambé off the alcohol (consequently if you’re worried about doing this, just add it into the pan and boil it off).

  2. Using a slotted spoon, place the fish medallions aside on a plate.

    Meanwhile, in the same pan, gently fry the onion & garlic back on the heat until translucent, then add the tomato, purée, wine, cayenne, bay leaves, thyme and pour in the juices from the removed fish.

    Bring to a boil then leave to simmer and reduce (uncovered) for about 30 minutes.

  3. Return the fish to the pot and heat through for just a further 10 minutes but be careful not to cook for much longer, otherwise the fish will turn into bullets!

    Add the fresh parsley and a few turns of the salt and pepper mills to taste and, if using, stir in the crème fraîche.

Recipe Notes

Serve with fragrant rice, fresh green beans and extra parsley.

*I used to make this with fish stock but now just drain the juices from the removed fish (see on VIDEO HERE)
For purists who prefer with, here's a Quick Fish Stock: Put the skin and fish bone in a large pan with a carrot, onion, fennel bulb, 2 bay leaves, sprig of thyme, 5 peppercorns and add just enough water to cover. Boil, remove any scum, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and cool.

WINE SUGGESTIONS: a fruity and sunny ample white such as Crozes Hermitage, Meursault, Savennières or Alsace Riesling; or a rosé such as Bandol, Côtes de Provence; or a red Sancerre.

Nutritional Information: 488 Calories per serving; 64g protein, 13g lipids.

Jill Colonna




French Chocolate Mendiants – Perfect Easter Hats!

If any of you have walked around the inviting chocolate shops and patisseries around Paris, you may have spotted some French Chocolate Mendiants.  They’re delicious disks of chocolate covered in colourful dried fruits and nuts.

Read on for the story behind them but in the meantime, I think they make perfect hats to top macarons, cupcakes, cookies – or any of your favourite sweet treats for some fun. In this case, add a few mini Easter eggs and you have the perfect Easter Bonnet!

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french chocolate mendiants easter

This recipe was originally published on 6 April 2012 but the text and photos have been updated with a new printable recipe card.

What are French Mendiants?

Mendiant means ‘beggar’ in French. Mendiants are popular confiserie in France: simple disks of chocolate (dark, milk or white) with at least four kinds of dried fruit and nuts.

Each represents the robe colours of four mendicant monastic orders from the Middle Ages.

Fascinating, n’est-ce pas?

Mendiants are great for serving as mini bites or mignardises with coffee after dinner but are normally seen for special occasions such as Christmas. But since we’re talking chocolate – let’s make them for Easter… or for any time of year!

how to make french chocolate mendiants

Dried Fruits and Nuts the Colour of Mendiant Monks’ Robes

According to French tradition, raisins stand for the Augustinians, hazelnuts for the Carmelites, dried figs for the Franciscans, and almonds are for the Dominicans.

However, over time things have become totally out of hand: confectioners are adding orange peel, pistachio nuts, candied ginger and now I’ve added goji berries soaked in Kirsch (only because I forgot to buy some cranberries) and mini chocolate praline Easter eggs or even French chocolate fish!

almond lemon easter cake

This was used as decoration for this gluten free Lemon Easter Cake.

french chocolate disks mendiants

French Chocolate Mendiants Ideas for Toppings

Here I used dark chocolate and coarse praline chocolate, but mendiants can be made with plain, milk or white chocolate.

Use different nuts (I personally like to toast mine as it adds more depth of flavour) and dried fruits to add a contrast in textures and flavours.

I also added broken Mikado sticks (do you have these in America?) and homemade zig-zag sticks (just by melting chocolate and zig-zagging it on baking paper, then peeling off when set) for a nest and mini Easter eggs.

french chocolate mendiants disks easter

Easy to Peel Chocolate Off

As you can see, I’ve just used baking parchment to spoon the melted chocolate and – using the back of a spoon – form circles directly onto the sheet without any guide.  There’s no need!  They don’t need to be absolutely perfect: the spoon actually does make them into circles themselves.

Over time, however, I did eventually find a use for my silicone macaron mat (this links to my non-sponsored review, as I don’t need fancy gadgets to make homemade macarons (tips are all in my books). Using the macaron mat with it’s groovy circles, by spooning the chocolate into them, when I peel them off once set the chocolate is absolutely perfect.

how to make french chocolate mendiant disks

Do I need to Temper Chocolate for Mendiants?

Normally, professional chocolatiers temper their chocolate to sell Mendiants.  The reason being, they last so much longer and are prettier.

As I’m just making them at home with the idea of eating them quickly over the next few days, I honestly haven’t needed to.  Melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie (in a glass bowl over simmering water) and spoon out on to a baking sheet.  As the chocolate takes a good 30 minutes to set, you have enough time to enjoy topping them.

As you can see, it’s not even a recipe: just melt good quality chocolate and plonk on the dried fruits and (toasted) nuts of your choice!  Et voilà !

Join me on Instagram for a Daily Dose of French Life

I have just posted my first Reel.  Jings – that wasn’t as easy as I thought. It’s amazing how much time all these things take and I’m not even sure you’re seeing them!  So, if you’d like to follow me for a dose of daily French life, please do join me on Instagram.

It’s where I post shots from in and around Paris (at the moment it’s more outside Paris due to lockdown, as I live next to Saint Germain-en-Laye between Paris and Versailles), food snippets of recipes or the market – or just some fun stuff!

See my Instagram Reel Video on how to make them HERE.

french chocolate mendiants easy recipe

French Chocolate Mendiants


Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Setting Time: 30 minutes

200g dark chocolate (64% cocoa solids, minimum)
Candied orange peel, cut into cubes
Raisins or dried cranberries*
Hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds or pine nuts (plain or toasted)

  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat).
  2. Break up the chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.
  3. Using a dessertspoon, spoon the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle.
  4. Gradually decorate with the fruit and nuts using different colours and textures for toppings. Don’t worry about the chocolate hardening; you will have enough time to enjoy dressing each disk before it hardens.
  5. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

* To knock them into Adult mode for that extra je ne sais quoi, soak them in Kirsch, Chambord, Armagnac, Frangelico or any of your favourite liqueurs.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if you can wait that long!)

french chocolate mendiants hats


Here I topped chocolate macarons with French chocolate mendiants for an Easter bonnet look.

You could do the same by decorating cupcakes, brownies, muffins, chocolate mousse, etc. with your own personal French chocolate mendiant touch, or just devour them on their own.

5 from 1 vote
French Chocolate Mendiants (disks with fruit and nuts)
Prep Time
30 mins
Setting Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

French mendiants, chocolate disks traditionally topped with dried fruits and nuts, resembling the 4 monastic robes from the Middle Ages, seen in chocolate shops around France

Course: confiserie, Snack
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Author: Jill Colonna
  • 200 g (7oz) bittersweet chocolate (at least 64% cacao)
  • handful each golden sultanas &/or raisins
  • dried cranberries or goji berries
  • toasted flaked almonds, almonds or pine nuts
  • pistachio nuts
  • candied orange peel (optional)
  1. Line a perfectly flat baking sheet with baking paper (or silicone mat - even better, a macaron mat will set them perfectly into round shapes).

  2. Break up the chocolate in a glass bowl and place over a pan of simmering water over a gentle heat (bain-marie) until the chocolate has melted.

  3. Using a spoon, pour the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, pressing each one down with the back of the spoon to make a circle (don't worry if they are a bit messy - it will set well later!)

  4. Gradually decorate with the fruit and nuts using different colours and textures for toppings. Don’t worry about the chocolate hardening; you will have enough time to enjoy dressing each disk before it hardens.

  5. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes. When set, remove each mendiant carefully from the sheet with your fingers or a palette knife.

Recipe Notes

* To knock them into Adult mode for that extra je ne sais quoi, soak them in Kirsch, Chambord, Armagnac, Frangelico or any of your favourite liqueurs.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (if you can wait that long!)

Jill Colonna


Chorizo Risotto with Seared Scallops or Prawns

This Chorizo Risotto is my trump recipe card when I haven’t had time to go shopping yet need a quick recipe that delivers the goods! It’s perhaps in my Top 20 dishes that you can make in no time – as long as there is some chorizo in the fridge.

As chorizo keeps for a long time, it’s a handy ingredient to have in stock – that pun is totally intended!

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chorizo risotto prawns seared scallops

This recipe was first published as Chorizo Risotto with Prawns on 7 October 2016. This post has now been updated to include a printable recipe card, updated text & photos. However, as it was previously using a template, I have lost all lovely comments and recipe reviews – so please give this recipe some new love!

Chorizo Risotto with Scallops, Prawns, Fish or Chicken

Not only is it so simple and great on its own, but it’s even more delicious served with seared scallops, fried prawns (shrimp), with fish, with chicken, or just with a few greens.

Chorizo risotto is a handy and versatile recipe for a quick and rewarding family dinner – or for when friends pop in at the last minute, as the ingredients are usually always at hand in the fridge or in our cupboards – and I love to keep some scallops or prawns in the freezer.

chorizo risotto

Chorizo Risotto – French Restaurant Inspiration

I remember having a much more sophisticated version of this chorizo risotto a few years ago in a chic restaurant in the Champagne region – and it was unforgettable, served with a Premier Cru Champagne. Bliss together on a special occasion! The dish was so elegant, served with a filet of the most buttery, flaky fish on top, and the sauce was served apart, which was quite a revelation to me for serving a risotto!

This sauce was so mousse-like that I’m sure it was prepared using a Siphon. The chorizo sausage was blitzed so there were no bits in it. Personally, over time, I love also having bits of chorizo in it – it adds to the textures. But it’s your call – try both and see.

chorizo shrimp spicy risotto

While the flavour combinations played in my mind, I couldn’t resist playing with food back home and trying out a simpler take on it, serving the chorizo sauce around the risotto and topping with seared scallops or prawns/shrimps.

Gradually, I’ve tried it with wine – great! But try it instead with a splash of French Pastis (Ricard or Casanis – all makes of aniseed liqueur).  It adds that je ne sais quoi! Try it.

how to make chorizo risotto pastis

After experimenting happily on the family over the years, here it is – et voilà ! So chic yet so easy.

chorizo risotto scallops

Top with edible herb flowers for a special occasion or scatter with a few toasted sesame seeds.

More Seafood or Fish Recipes

Prawn, Lemon & Asparagus Spaghetti

Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartare Sauce

Herb & Parmesan Crusted John Dory (à la Viennoise)

Cullen Skink Scottish Smoked Haddock Chowder

Salmon with Smoked Tea Beurre Blanc

French Monkfish Stew: Lotte à L’Armoricaine

Salmon Fish Cakes from Christina’s Cucina

Cioppino Italian-American Seafood Stew from Christina’s Cucina

chorizo risotto scallops


5 from 1 vote
Chorizo Risotto with Leeks & Scallops
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French, Italian
Keyword: chorizo recipes, leek risotto
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 431 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Chorizo Sauce
  • 110 g (4oz) chorizo sausage medium or strong, according to taste
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 litre (1.75pints) chicken stock (or vegetable or fish, depending on accompaniment)
  • 150 ml (5fl oz) single cream (15% reduced fat or 30% full cream)
  • 1 leek or onion (medium), finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250 g (9oz) risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • 3 tbsp Pastis (Anis liqueur) or white wine a good splash
  • 25 g (1oz) butter salted (or unsalted and add salt)
  • 25 g (1oz) parmesan grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped (or other herbs or choice)
  • 12 fresh scallops (defrosted if frozen)
  • 2 pinches salt & pepper to your taste
  1. First make the chorizo sauce: In a small saucepan, dry fry half of the chopped shallot with the chopped chorizo until the shallots are translucent, chorizo-coloured and there’s no fat left in the pan. Add about a quarter (250ml/9fl oz) of the stock, boil then leave to simmer until the sauce reduces by a half.

  2. Make the risotto: Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the chopped leek (or onion) until translucent. Add the risotto rice and toss in the oil and leek until also translucent then add a good splash of Pastis/Ricard (or wine).

  3. As soon as the Aniseed liqueur (or wine) is absorbed, add a large ladle at a time of the HOT stock and stir until the stock is well absorbed by the rice. Repeat this for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.  

  4. Add the butter, parmesan, seasoning and chopped parsley. Add the cream to the chorizo sauce 5 minutes before the risotto is ready and continue to simmer. Blitz the sauce with a hand-blender if you like it smooth, otherwise keep the chorizo pieces in. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.

  5. In a small frying pan, heat the butter just until it browns slightly and smells nutty.  Sear the scallops or prawns (3 per person) until they are just cooked.

Recipe Notes

Serve the chorizo risotto in bowls (I like to push the risotto into large inox rings or cookie cutters to mould it into shape quickly), top with the scallops or prawns and drizzle around the chorizo sauce. Top with herb flowers or scatter over some toasted sesame seeds.

Choose either mild or strong chorizo, depending how spicy you like it.

Matching wines: Chardonnay or Chenin Blanc or Champagne.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 431 calories per portion; 19g protein; 36g lipids.

Jill Colonna




Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart – a French Classic

Many a Parisian knows of their Bourdaloue pear tart. It’s a classic almond and pear tart found in many patisseries at this time of year, and has been glazing around the City of Light since the 1900s.

My first reaction to the word, BOUR-DA-LOUE, years ago? I thought it was something you shouted in Scotland in the 18th Century before throwing out your rubbish from a high tenement building in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile! Instead – read on and you’ll discover, like me, the true story of this delicious classic French tart.

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Bourdaloue Pear Tart

This post was first published 8th December 2018 but has now been updated with a printable recipe and updated text.

Just after I took these photos in the pear-fect street of Rue Bourdaloue in Paris’s 9th arrondissement, I bit into this tartlet. The filling fell straight out of the soggy base. Frankly for the price, it was disappointing and not the freshest of pastries.  It can happen but it’s incentive at times to make homemade.

What is the Bourdaloue Pear Tart?

To get to know the Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart better, I reached for Larousse Gastronomique. Translated into English it reads:

Bourdaloue is a tart invented by a pastry chef in Paris’s Rue Bourdaloue during la Belle Epoque – composed of poached Pear Williams, drowned in a vanilla frangipane cream, covered in broken macarons and finally glazed in the oven.

The words, “drowned in a vanilla frangipane cream” has me glazed over myself. But who knew it was covered in broken macarons? All versions I see from this tart in Paris patisseries are covered simply in slivered almonds. I’m not keen on breaking macarons – perhaps for a macaron tiramisu – so let’s top with some shells. Now for the tart!

Bourdaloue Pear Tart

The frangipane cream filling is often made using a mix of both an almond cream and crème patissière (pastry cream). While this is absolutely delicious, for this recipe I prefer cutting corners: I skip the pastry cream step and make an easy almond cream adding a dash of good, dark Jamaican rum.

I’m sure the pears won’t mind being drowned in that. After many tastings of the tart in Paris and trying it out at home, I’m happy with this version.

Who was Bourdaloue in Paris?

As the streets in Paris are mainly named after famous personalities in French history, it’s always interesting to look up the street names themselves.  Louis Bourdaloue was apparently a French preacher, so eloquent, sharp and popular amongst all classes that King Louis XIV ensured he booked him to preach from the pulpit at the court of Versailles.

Bourdaloue Pear Tart

French pears

What Pears are Best for the Bourdaloue Tart?

As in Larousse, I’ve made this tart using Williams, while Comice or Conference are just as good for poaching pears from scratch (see this recipe for Poached Pears in Coffee and Vanilla for the method). I’ve even tried using fresh pears without poaching: just act quickly and sprinkle with some lemon juice to prevent them turning brown. Pick pears that are not yet ripe but not brick hard either. Slightly soft yet firm is perfect.

This recipe, however, is based on the one in the Larousse French Book of Desserts, which uses tinned pears in syrup. If Pierre Hermé can do it, I don’t feel too bad at cutting corners here with tinned. It’s so much easier and just as tasty.

Bourdaloue Pear Tart

The Professional Version of a Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart

Let me add that if you’re following a professional pastry course like the CAP Patisserie, then you wouldn’t use tinned pears. After baking the tart, you’d mix an egg yolk with water and brush it on to the pastry sides and bake for a further couple of minutes. Then you’d make a fancy nappage glaze to polish it all off.

For this easier recipe, just brush with about 4 tablespoons of slightly warmed apricot jam after the tart comes out of the oven. I recommend making your own pastry (I use my favourite one from the tart chapter in Teatime in Paris) but if you’re short for time, use ready-made shortcrust pastry (pâte sablée).

Bourdaloue Pear Tart Step by Step

Bourdaloue Pear Tart

So next time you roll your French tongue around Bourdaloue, think pear & almond tart, Louis the preacher, and the street named after him where the pastry was created in the 1900s in the 9th arrondisement.

Bourdaloue Pear Tart

Love Pears for Dessert?

Here are a few more French pear recipes:


Pear, Hazelnut & Chocolate Crumble

Upside-Down Pear & Chocolate Cake

Poached Pears in Coffee & Vanilla

Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart Recipe

Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Chilling Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Bourdaloue Pear Tart, named after the Parisian street where it was invented in the 1900s. A shortcrust tart base filled with Williams pears and almond cream, glazed and topped with slivered almonds and macarons.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Bourdaloue Tart, Pear Almond Tart, Pear Tart
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 387 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Sweet Pastry (based on my recipe in 'Teatime in Paris') or use ready-made shortcrust
  • 125 g (4.5oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 75 g (3oz) icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1 organic egg
  • 225 g (8oz) plain (all-purpose) flour preference Type 45
  • 25 g (1oz) ground almonds/almond flour
Pear and Almond Cream Filling:
  • 6 half pears tinned
  • 100 g (3.5oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 75 g (3oz) sugar
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 3 drops almond extract
  • 100 g (3.5oz) ground almonds/almond flour
  • 2 tbsp good quality dark rum
  • 20 g (handful) slivered almonds
  • 100 g (3.5oz) apricot jam slightly warmed
Sweet Pastry:
  1. Using a stand mixer with a paddle beater (otherwise mix by hand but use cold butter), mix the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy. Gradually add the egg, flour and ground almonds until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

  2. Leave to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes then roll out the pastry to about 3-4mm on a lightly floured surface. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin to transfer to a loose-bottomed tart tin (28cm diameter).

  3. Using your fingers, press the pastry right into the sides of the tin. Roll the rolling pin over the top to even off the pastry, prick with a fork then chill for 30 minutes.

Pear and Almond Filling:
  1. Drain the pear halves from the syrup on kitchen paper. When dry, cut them in slices horizontally (optional).

  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs, almond extract, ground almonds and rum.

  3. Spread over this mixture evenly over the tart base using a palette knife (or pipe it out in a spiral). For a 28cm tin, this will look quite thin but it will puff up in the oven and keep your tart golden and crispy.

  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Using a (palette) knife, carefully transfer the pears evenly over the top and sprinkle with the slivered almonds.

  5. Bake in the oven for 30-35 or until golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from the tin and brush over with the apricot jam. Top with macaron shells (recipe in both my books).

Recipe Notes

Nutritional Information: 387 calories per serving; 6g protein; 29g carbohydrates; 26g fat.

For more detailed instructions on the tart's pastry, see the tart chapter in my book, Teatime in Paris.


Jill Colonna


Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy making this Bourdaloue Pear Tart recipe?  Please share your photos with #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram or Facebook – or just tell your family and friends about le blog! Thanks so much – I love to see you enjoying the recipes.

Parisian Bourdaloue Pear Tart

Complete Guide to Macaron Day Paris – 2021 Edition

With the budding arrival of Spring on 20 March, it’s also the official date of Macaron Day Paris 2021.

Initiated in 2005 by Pierre Hermé, dubbed the ‘Picasso of Pastry’, Macaron Day is always a charitable event organised by high-end pastry chefs throughout France, Europe and the World over who are all members of the prestigious Relais Desserts group.

UPDATE 19 March 2021: Following the announcement about lockdown around Paris 20 March to 18 April, the GOOD NEWS is that the event will continue tomorrow, as patisseries will remain open during this time.

jour du macaron 2021 france

This post was published on 10th March 2016 and I’ve published various editions over the years. As last year’s event was cancelled, I’m now happy to say this one is updated and the 16th year is on – welcome to the 2021 edition!

Macaron Day Paris 2021

Now in its 16th year, Macaron Day 2021 is a smaller affair than previous years – and last year, due to the  pandemic’s lockdown in France, it was cancelled. This year, the charitable project is organised with photographer, Stéphane de Bourgies (President of Zazakely Sambatra) and Relais Dessert pastry chefs Pierre Hermé and Vincent Guerlais (Relais Dessert’s President). For their second year running, the Jour du Macaron‘s chosen charity is for the children of Madagascar.

What is Zazakely Sambatra?

Zazakely Sambatra, meaning ‘happy children’ in Malagasy, is a public association founded in 2004 by Véronique de Bourgies following the adoption of two children in Madagascar. After Véronique’s tragic disappearance during the Paris terrorist attacks on 13 November 2015, her husband, Stéphane has continued to keep the flame burning for the children of Madagascar.

One of the poorest countries in the world, 92% of the Malagasy population lives on less than a dollar a day. Half of the population of Madagascar is made up of children under 14 years old. The association works to provide Madagascar’s youth with the necessary development – through training, exchanging, community organising, to help realise their potential. This includes extracurricular activities, learning about health and nutrition and, in line with Relais Desserts’ strive for Excellence, passing down knowledge and savoir-faire.

Macaron Day Paris 2020

Limited Edition Box: Macaron Day 2021

Inspired by the textile designs of Madagascar, these limited edition boxes were designed by Malagasy stylist, Sih Rakout. EACH BOX WILL CONTAIN SIX MACARONS (starting at 9 euros) by each member of Relais Desserts participating in Macaron Day 2021 – see list below.

Each macaron will conjure up the magic flavours of Madagascar: vanilla, chocolate and spices.

Macaron Day Guide Paris

Plan your Spring Macaron Day Paris 2021

So on 20th March, if you’re able to participate in Macaron Day Paris 2021, please do help raise funds by tasting at least one limited edition box of 6 delectable macarons from the following participating patisseries around Paris in aid of Zazakely Sambatra. 100% of sales from these boxes will go to the charity. Please note all closing times are at 6pm in Paris due to the governmental curfew.

Pierre Hermé

With an infinite gourmet choice of his macarons, anyone who has tasted them is bound to have their favourites. Creations that spring to my mind include Chloé (chocolate-raspberry), Infiniment Chocolat, Infinitely Rose or Passion Fruit or Orange or Grapefruit… What could be in the running in that box with his house signatures? Infinement de choix…

  • 4 rue Cambon, 75001 Paris (Tuesday- Saturday 11am-6pm; Sunday/Monday closed)
    39 avenue de l’Opéra, 75002 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    4 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    18 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    126 blvd Saint Germain, 75006 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm)
    53-57 rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    Publicis Drugstore, 133 avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 12pm-6pm)
    89 boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Mon-Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; closed Sunday)
    185 rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 11am-6pm)
    58 avenue Paul Doumer, 75016 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm)

Aoki macarons Rue Saint Dominique Paris

Sadaharu Aoki

This Japanese-French pâtisserie is highly Japanese with spectacular flavours such as Matcha Green tea; Black Sesamé; Genmacha; Hojicha; Yuzu; but what will be in that box?

  • 56 Boulevard de Port Royal, 75005 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-2.30pm/3.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    35 rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-1.30pm/2.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    103 rue Saint Dominique, 75007 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday 11am-1.30pm/2.30-6pm; Closed Monday)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris (Mon-Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; Closed Sunday)
    25 rue de Pérignon, 75015 Paris (Tuesday-Sunday: 11am-6pm; Closed Monday)

Laurent Duchêne

With his classic macarons including chocolate yuzu, I’ve loved his pear-cardamom and gingerbread macarons, just to get the spices going.

  • 238 rue de la Convention, 75015 Paris (Tuesday-Saturday: 8.30am-6pm; Sunday: 8am-1.30pm; closed Monday)
    2 rue Wurtz, 75013 Paris (Monday-Saturday: 7.30am-6pm; closed Sunday)
    45 Rue Raymond du Temple, 94300 Vincennes (Tuesday-Sunday: 8.30am-6pm; closed Monday)


Macarons Paris Jean-Paul Hevin chocolates


Jean-Paul Hévin

Jean-Paul Hévin’s macarons specialise in chocolate and I’m guessing that we’ll see Tana (Grand Cru ganache from Madagascar) and Vanill’in.

  • 231 rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
    41 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
    3 rue Vavin, 75006 Paris
    23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet, 75007 Paris (all 4 boutiques open Mon-Saturday: 10am-6pm. Closed Sunday)
    Lafayette Gourmet, 35 Boulevard Haussemann, 75009 Paris (Saturday: 9.30am-6pm; Closed Sunday)

Arnaud Larher

Try his classic selection: my favourites are Pistachio; Mango-tangerine; or Coffee and chocolate cream laced with strong coffee.

  • 93 rue de Seine, 75006 Paris (all shops: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-6pm; Closed Sunday/Monday)
    57 rue Damrémont, 75018 Paris
    53 rue Caulaincourt, 75018 Paris


The legendary house, LeNôtre has always put their Madagascan Bourbon vanilla pride of place – and no doubt we’ll discover their other classics including chocolate and bitter coffee.

  • 10, rue Saint Antoine, 75004 Paris (Mon-Sun 9am-6pm)
    15, boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris (opening times as above for all boutiques)
    22, avenue de la Porte de Vincennes, 75012 Paris
    61, rue Lecourbe , 75015 Paris
    44, rue d’Auteuil, 75016 Paris
    48 avenue Victor Hugo, 75016 Paris
    121, avenue de Wagram, 75017 Paris

Christophe Roussel

Montmartre chocolate pastry walk Christophe Roussel

Aren’t we lucky that the pastry and chocolate star of France’s west coast, Christophe Roussel, also has a boutique in Paris’s Montmartre? His boutique, ‘Creative Duo Avec Julie‘ (Christophe’s adorable wife) at the bottom of the hill known as the butte de Montmartre, always has a most sumptuous selection of macarons to choose from.

Please – if you ever see Christophe or Julie serving at the Montmartre boutique, please say bonjour from me! I’ve been so privileged to be part of his JURY twice now for the amateur pastry competition in La Baule – it’s always the most deliciously fun event (last time in 2019 was with Mercotte, Christophe Felder, Raphaël Haumont & Eric Guérin).

I see Christophe Roussel and his team have released the cutest chocolate sculptures this year – check out their new 2021 Easter collection here.

Back to the Parisian macarons! I personally love his Salted Caramel Coated with Dark Chocolate; Passion Fruit and Tarragon; Vanilla, Coffee, Chocolate, Gingerbread and Cheesecake macarons too. Och – try them ALL!

  •  5 rue Tardieu, 75018 Paris (Monday-Sunday: 10.15am-1.30pm/2pm-6pm)


Rest of France: Participating Macaron Day Patisseries

For a list of other participating patisseries in the rest of France, see this complete list from Relais Desserts.

If you’re able to participate in Macaron Day Paris 2021, we’re counting on you to help by tasting at least one limited edition box of 6 delectable macarons on 20th March!

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French Apple Custard Tart – An Easy Yolk Recipe you HAVE to try!

This is for fans of both the apple tart and the custard tart. Put them both together and what do you get? A French Apple Custard Tart from Alsace, sheer bliss with a touch of grated nutmeg or cinnamon.  It’s so easy to make – especially if you cheat – oh-là-là! – and buy ready-made pastry.

Jump to Recipe

french apple custard small tart

This post was originally published on 25 October 2015 and is now updated with new photos and more explanatory text.

An Egg Yolk Recipe for Saving Egg Whites!

Ever since I became literally ‘Mad About Macarons’, and was making these confections like some kind of mad woman for friends, dinner parties, our greedy selves and for the books, I found myself hunting down egg yolk recipes.

If you’re a home baker and love making Parisian macarons, financier teacakes, tuiles, and lemon meringue tarts, you’ll know the eggs-act ‘problem’.  What do these recipes have in common? They all need egg whites, not whole eggs.

So, I need recipes that use up just the egg yolks. This one is perfect for my growing egg yolk recipe collection: it uses 4 yolks! It’s a never-ending delicious cycle.

Scouring through my all-time favourite coffee-table book, France the Beautiful Cookbook (1989) by the Scotto Sisters (which is now well and truly covered in splatters and its tattered cover is ripped, bless it), I first made the ‘Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne’ and loved its scrumptious simplicity.

Over time, I adapted this French Apple Custard Tart by reducing the sugar and alternating between the cinnamon with nutmeg, just like I remember the custard egg tarts I had when I grew up in Scotland.  It’s a real family pleaser for dessert and great at any time of year – I discovered recently that many of you love making this for Thanksgiving too!

Alsacian French Apple Custard Tart Recipe

Tart Pastry Base

This recipe is made easier if you buy ready-prepared sweet pastry dough.

However, I do urge you to make your own sweet classic tart pastry if you have time (I have a quick recipe here). Adding that extra touch of vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon in the pastry base had even my cinnamon-avoiding husband ask for a THIRD slice – and, as a Frenchman, he’s careful about his dessert intake!

For details on how to make your own homemade tarts and tartlets, I have a whole chapter devoted to making them, with down-to-earth, step-by-step instructions in my French home-baking book, Teatime in Paris.

How To Make Apple Custard Tart

No Need to Blind Bake the Tart’s Pastry

Another reason I love this recipe? Techniques such as blind-baking the pastry beforehand is cleverly replaced by simply laying out the apples and baking them before adding the filling.

The filling couldn’t be simpler: just whisk the whole lot together, pour on top of the apples then bake further until the topping looks beautifully brown and custardy.

I also love adding a good pinch of ground nutmeg either in the pastry base or in the filling – or both! Nutmeg is delicious with our best loved custard tarts I grew up with in Scotland. Personally, nutmeg does the toe-curling for me, giving it that je ne sais quoi to a custard tart with apples. If you prefer cinnamon, then use that (have you tried the Portuguese Pasteis de Nata Custard Tarts, sprinkled with cinnamon on top?).

portuguese custard tart

Easy best recipe for French apple custard tart

Papa Tart, Maman Tarts and Baby Tartlets

The recipe below makes one large tart using a deep 28cm (11 inches) tart tin. It also makes 2x16cm (6.5 inches) tarts with one extra tartlet – handy if you’re giving away one – or even 2 – as a present. Otherwise it makes enough for 8 tartlets.

I use non-stick tart tins and tart rings but if you have regular tins, then grease first with a little butter.

3 french apple custard tarts

French Apple Custard Tart

Adapted from ‘France the Beautiful Cookbook’ by the Scotto Sisters – with added nutmeg and reduced sugar in the filling.

Serves 8

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Makes one 28cm (11 inch) tart; or 8 tartlets; or 2x 16cm tarts

275g/10oz sweet pastry (with a good pinch ground cinnamon)
2-3 apples (Golden Delicious)
4 organic egg yolks
75g/2.5oz sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
pinch vanilla powder or few drops of vanilla extract
200ml/7 floz double cream/crème fleurette (30% fat)

Egg Yolk Easy Custard Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F (gas 7). Butter a 25cm tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press into the tin. Chill in the fridge.

2. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry. Start from the outside and arrange the slices in the form of a flower then make a smaller 2nd layer to fill in the gaps.  Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk or fork, beat the egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg (or cinnamon), vanilla and cream.  Pour over the apples and bake for about a further 30 minutes (20-25 minutes for tartlets) or until the topping is deliciously custardy with typical brown patches.


French apple custard tart

Serving Suggestions

There’s no need for any ice cream or cream; enjoy on its own served warm for the perfect teatime treat, dessert or even breakfast. If you want to decorate, dust with a little icing/confectioner’s sugar, top with grapes or an edible flower.

french apple custard tart

French Apple Custard Tart Recipe

5 from 3 votes
french apple custard small tart recipe card
French Apple Custard Tart
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Adapted from 'France the Beautiful Cookbook' by the Scotto Sisters - with reduced sugar in the filling and addition of nutmeg. Makes one large tart, 2 medium tarts or 8 tartlets.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: apple tart, custard tart, egg yolk recipes, French apple tart
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
  • 275 g (10oz) sweet pastry  with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 4 medium egg yolks (organic)
  • 75 g (2.5oz) sugar (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or few drops extract
  • 200 ml (7floz) double cream/crème fleurette (30% fat) (about 3/4 cup)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F (gas 7). Butter a 28cm/11" tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough evenly, larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press well into the tin. Chill in the fridge.

  2. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and core them. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry, starting from the outside and arrange the slices in the form of a flower. Make a second smaller layer to fill in any gaps. Bake for 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk or fork, beat the egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg (or cinnamon), vanilla and cream.  Pour over the apples and bake for about a further 30 minutes (20-25 minutes for tartlets) or until the top has delicious custardy brown patches.

Recipe Notes

There’s no need for any ice cream or cream; enjoy on its own served warm for the perfect teatime treat, dessert or even breakfast. If you want to decorate, dust with a little icing/confectioner’s sugar, top with grapes or an edible flower.

Jill Colonna