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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:

Poire-Belle-Hélène

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
Ingredients
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
Glaze:
  • 100 g (3.5oz) apricot jam slightly warmed
Instructions
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

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

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

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.

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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.
PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW.

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
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  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

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

French Chocolate Passion Mousse with Caramel Nougatine

It happened last night.  Excitement set in as this French Chocolate Passion Mousse was a simple  experiment that worked.

It’s based on a classic French dark chocolate mousse (see my video on how to make it HERE) with its particularity being that it uses NO CREAM. However – I didn’t have enough egg whites and so experimented by adding – PASSION FRUIT juice. Then I experimented further and omitted egg yolks and so it just uses whites and passion fruit juice.

Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse

The result?

French Chocolate Passion Mousse

It lightened it up even further, the taste was sensational and so I was rather excited about it. Those of you that heard me on Instagram stories will agree that I sounded really excited.

Saying I’m Excited in French like ‘Emily in Paris’

Don’t tell the French you’re excited. It’s not new as a cliché that was brought up in ‘Emily in Paris’.
Mention that you’re ‘excité’ in French and oh-là-là – your friends will tell you to take a cold shower.  Being excited just doesn’t have the same meaning here.

In the early days on arriving in Paris, I told a few friends and – even worse – my French parents-in-law that I was excitée to see (which means I ‘had the hots’/’was horny’ for) the farmers coming to the market, showing off their organic produce.  It’s just as well I didn’t babble on about their radishes and carrots!

French chocolate passion mousse

Who took the spoon?

What to say in French for Being Excited

Just saying, “Ça m’excite” is even worse – and I know I’m not alone on that one. That’s just saying it makes you horny.

The French don’t have a real equivalent of saying that they’re excited about something.  They are more likely to shrug their shoulders and say, ‘C’est cool‘, or ‘C’est chouette“. They don’t become as bubbly and enthusiastic as we do – in fact, it’s seen as slightly childlike.

I don’t care any more. I’ll forever be a bubbly-sounding kid, ‘excited’ in the kitchen watching macaron shells rise in the oven… So, when there’s a jam jar filled with leftover egg whites from the ever-growing egg yolk recipe collection, I still become excited. Either I could make a batch of homemade macarons – or I could make this light and fluffy French chocolate mousse – now with passion in it!

For Nutty Caramel Lovers

For nutty caramel lovers, I added a rather addictive Almond-Pistachio Nougatine. All because it’s February. Amour, love, chocolate, caramel and passion is in the air!

It’s based on this easy nougatine recipe, inspired by the famous Parisian rice pudding topping of chef Stéphane Jégo of l’Ami Jean restaurant in the 7th. I encourage you to try it – and if you can’t finish it all, ask for the famous Riz au Lait Doggy Bag!

This version is so quick and easy to make.  Unlike the original that uses 4 different kinds of nuts, I’ve cut it to my 2 favourites: almonds and pistachios, use just organic cane sugar and good, French President butter.

French Chocolate Passion Mousse & Nougatine

French chocolate passion mousse recipe

Join me here on Pinterest!

French chocolate passion mousse

 

5 from 6 votes
Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse
French Chocolate Passion Mousse & Almond-Pistachio Nougatine
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Chilling Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

The lightest French dark chocolate mousse with no cream but the juice of 2 passion fruits - served with the nuttiest caramel: an almond and pistachio nougatine

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate passion fruit, French chocolate mousse, gluten free desserts, no-cream chocolate mousse
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 205 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
French Dark Chocolate Mousse
  • 170 g (6oz) dark chocolate (I use 72% cacao - use only good quality)
  • 15 g (0.5oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 210 g (7.5oz) egg whites (from 6 fresh organic eggs)
  • 30 g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 2 passion fruits juice sieved off, seeds removed
Almond-Pistachio Nougatine (Optional)
  • 140 g (5oz) slivered almonds
  • 100 g (3.5oz) unsalted pistachios
  • 50 g (1.75oz) butter unsalted
  • 140 g (5oz) organic light brown cane sugar
Instructions
Dark Chocolate Mousse
  1. Melt the chocolate and cocoa powder together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water ('bain-marie'), taking care not to overcook the chocolate (don't have the water at a rolling boil; simmer gently). As soon as the chocolate is easy to stir, switch off the heat and stir until smooth, keeping the bowl over the pan to keep warm.

  2. Meanwhile, sieve out the seeds from the passion fruits. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites (using a stand mixer or electric beaters) with the sugar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the passion fruit juice to the whites and continue to whip until firm.

  3. Fold the chocolate into the whites using a spatula.

  4. Divide the mousse into 6 serving dishes and chill for at least an hour.

Almond-Pistachio Nougatine (Optional)
  1. Place the nuts in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and lightly toast them under a hot grill for a couple of minutes. Keep your eye on them and don’t move away from the grill, as this happens quickly and you do NOT want them to burn (any burning will make the nuts bitter).  Toasting them lightly brings out their natural flavour. When toasted, set them aside to cool.

  2. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat. As soon as it’s melted, add the sugar. Using a wooden spoon, initially stir the sugar and butter together, then wait about 5 minutes until the mixture starts to form a  liquid and a caramel forms.  As soon as this happens, stir until smooth and it’s light brown (not dark brown, otherwise bitter), add all the nuts.

  3. Stir in the nuts until they’re all well covered and sticky in the caramel. Turn out immediately on to a patisserie mat (Silpat) or directly on to a clean, marble surface.

  4. Leave to cool on the counter for about 10 minutes or until the caramel hardens. Store in an airtight tin or jam jar and eat within a month.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is gluten free.  Top with the nougatine or serve with extra passion fruit. The mousse can be made in advance, chilled overnight and is excellent served next day. For a plain chocolate mousse recipe, see my short video of how to make it HERE.

Also delicious served with chocolate or exotic fruit macarons (see macaron recipes in either of my books, 'Mad About Macarons' and 'Teatime in Paris')

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Quick French Apple Tart with Calvados Cream

I wish I could write a blog post as quick as it takes to make this Quick French Apple Tart.  Seriously, taking photos and posting them here takes me forever. There are times I’d rather pop into the kitchen and rustle up a family treat than slave over a hot computer!

Quick French Apple Tart

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50 Shades of French Apples for Dessert

Rant over – blame a bad back, the downside of being tall and so grocery shopping has been kept to a minimum lately. The other evening, I was craving dessert. Instead, even a gorgeous assiette de fromage wasn’t going to happen: the cheese plate was beautiful, ready and waiting but we didn’t even have cheese to put on it. I fancied another apple dessert, especially after this Apple Crumble Cake, a recipe that’s perfectly easy for entertaining but needs 24 hours in the fridge to set.

With our Autumnal surroundings suggesting 50 Shades of Apples all around Paris (and chestnuts too) and dropping temperatures, we want pomme-pommes. (Chapeau to you if you can smile at that dreadful pun!)

Even our garden mole is going mad about apples – albeit for fake Granny Smiths from our garden centre.

If you haven’t yet met la taupe du jardin, she’s quite a local celebrity with the passing French kids that go to the pre-school maternelle en route. They peer over the garden wall to see the latest message, if I’ve remembered her the night before – and sometimes post on Instagram/FaceBook stories. Do you think I’m teaching her wee fans to become a teacher’s pet?

Back to this Quick French Apple Tart. The patisseries/bakeries by this time were closed, there wasn’t much in the fridge and so I had 15 minutes to prepare dessert before dinner was ready.

Does this sound familiar?

Can You Make a Quick Dessert with 2 Granny Smith Apples?

With only 2 Granny Smith apples left in the fridge and a ready-made (rolled) puff pastry (pâte feuillétée ‘pur beurre’), I found this so quick to make. Two apples are not enough for a classic Tarte Tatin and although fine for a French Apple Custard Tart, there wasn’t enough time.

Then I had this flash of preparing a quick – almost cheat – recipe based on the one I use for my Fast Fig Tart in ‘Teatime in Paris‘. Et voilà. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff: an apple tart is an apple tart, right?
However, see how far only 2 Granny Smith apples can go with thin slices?

Quick French Apple Tart Recipe

The beauty with preparing this kind of speedy tart with Granny Smiths is that by working quickly and slicing them up finely (use a sharp knife), there’s no need to pre-soak the apples in lemon juice.  They don’t have time to go brown!

Instead, I melted a little butter in the microwave, mixed it with muscovado sugar and brushed it over the apples before slamming it in the oven with some slivered almonds scattered on top to echo the thin, almond-pasted base. But that’s entirely up to you.  That thin, buttery sugar topping isn’t even necessary. Serve either warm or at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar.

Quick French Apple Tart Dessert

French Fall Apple Tart

I saved you a slice for next day to take a better photo and this time with a dollop of Calvados Cream.

Except, I snapped mine so quickly to join the others for teatime that I knocked over the plate. Not at all the same kind of ‘accident’ like the upside-down apple tart invented by the Tatin sisters! Have you ever tried Calvados Cream with pine needles? I didn’t eat that part but I still enjoyed it as a French Fall Apple Tart!

Quick French Apple Tart

Quick French Apple Tart with Calvados Cream

5 from 10 votes
Quick French Apple Tart
Quick French Apple Tart with Calvados Cream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

A fast and easy apple dessert to prepare at the last minute with ready-made puff pastry, 2 Granny Smith apples, honey, butter, almonds and Calvados. Add the extra Calvados cream for special occasions.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: apple tart
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 402 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
French Apple Tart
  • 1 packet ready-made all-butter puff pastry ready-rolled, if possible (250g)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples organic
  • 85 g (3oz) ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (e.g. Accacia)
  • 60 g (2oz) butter softened (unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp Calvados (or Pommeau)*
  • 1 tbsp muscovado sugar or organic coconut flower sugar
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds optional (for decor)
  • icing (confectioner's) sugar optional (for decor)
Calvados Cream
  • 140 ml (5oz) whipping cream no less than 30% fat
  • 60 ml (2oz) mascarpone cream
  • 2 tbsp Calvados (or Pommeau de Normandie)*
Instructions
For the Apple Tart:
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/180°C fan/Gas 6

  2. If the puff pastry isn't already rolled, roll out the pastry to about 5mm (1/4") thickness in either a rectangular or round shape. Place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.

  3. Prepare the almond paste: in a bowl, stir together the ground almonds, honey, 15g of the softened butter and Calvados (or Pommeau). Spread evenly over the pastry, leaving a small space (1cm) in from the edge.

  4. Peel and core the Granny Smith apples and slice them as thinly as possible using a good, sharp knife. Quickly arrange them in rows on the pastry.

  5. Melt the remaining butter, stir in the muscovado sugar and brush on top of the apples. Scatter with slivered almonds, if using and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Calvados Cream:
  1. In a chilled bowl, whisk the whipping cream with the mascarpone and add the Calvados or Pommeau towards the end, just as the cream thickens.

Recipe Notes

* Pommeau is a lighter apple wine from Normandy made with 1/3 Calvados and 2/3 non-fermented apple juice.  If you can find this easily, this is fabulous to replace Calvados.

Serve with a dollop of the Calvados or Pommeau cream - or, if you prefer ice cream, replace the Drambuie to make this no-churn Calvados or Pommeau Ice Cream.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Béarnaise Sauce – Recipe & Origins Near Paris

How many times have you seen the French classic Béarnaise Sauce on a menu and thought it was perhaps too difficult to make? Well, let me show you how easy it is to whip up the real McCoy at home. It also tastes 100 times better than the jarred stuff in supermarkets!

Moreover, did you know that there’s at least another herb in it, apart from tarragon? Read on from the birthplace of the Sauce Béarnaise itself in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just outside Paris and discover the “simple Béarn-ecessities of life” (groan!).

Sauce Béarnaise

Difference Between Hollandaise & Béarnaise Sauce

In the 1800s, Chef Antonin Carême noted that in French cuisine, there were four basic sauces – each called a “Mother Sauce”. Later, Auguste Escoffier took Câreme’s rules of Haute Cuisine a step further by adding a basic fifth sauce, the Hollandaise sauce, an emulsion of egg yolks, white vinegar and wine (or lemon juice) plus melted butter.

The Hollandaise’s most famous offspring, the Béarnaise sauce, has the fragrant addition of shallots, tarragon and chervil – yet had nothing much to do with the French Province of Béarn. The Béarnaise Sauce was born in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, just west of Paris.

Béarnaise Sauce

The Origins of Béarnaise Sauce, near Paris

It took place at Le Pavillon Henri IV, a hotel in Saint-Germain-en-Laye which was built over the original spot of the Château Neuf, where Louis XIV was born in 1638 – for more on this part, see my post here.

In the 1830’s, Head Chef Jean-Louis Françoise-Collinet experimented with a shallot reduction then, taking the basic recipe for Sauce Hollandaise, replaced the lemon juice with white wine vinegar, shallots, chervil and tarragon and the Sauce Béarnaise was born. It’s the tarragon and white wine vinegar that makes that fragrantly addictive acidity that we associate with the star of sauces with serious steaks.

Why did Collinet call it Béarnaise? Inspired by the name of the hotel, Henri IV, it was the King’s previous home at the Château Neuf before it was a restaurant and he came from the province of Béarn. Shortly after, the chef also accidentally invented the soufflée potato and served both of his creations at the opening of the hotel in 1836.

Béarnaise sauce

Le Pavillon Henri IV, SaintGermain-en-Laye, the birthplace of Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise Sauce – Tarragon, Chervil and Parsley

Today, the hotel’s chef, Patrick Käppler, has posted the Béarnaise Sauce recipe in French, published by the Hotel Pavillon Henri IV here, without the actual quantities. As you can see, to continue the sauce’s tradition, he doesn’t just use the classic tarragon (estragon) – but also chervil (cerfeuil), another essential ingredient, and parsley (persil) too.

Following my challenge from L’Office de Tourisme in les Yvelines, this Béarnaise Sauce recipe was also cited by the novelist, Alexandre Dumas.  More known for his Three Muskateers and The Count of Monte Cristo, as a serious gourmet and cook, he also published his Grand Culinary Dictionary (only in French).  He cites using a good vinegar from Orléans, uses oil instead of butter and parsley or tarragon:

Alexandre Dumas: Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine (1873), under “Sauce”,

Sauce échalote à la béarnaise.
Mettez dans une petite casserole deux cuillerées à bouche d’échalote hachée et quatre cuillerées de bon vinaigre d’Orléans ; la poser sur le feu et cuire les échalotes jusqu’à ce que le vinaigre soit réduit de moitié ; retirez alors la casserole, et quand l’appareil est à peu près refroidi, mêlez-lui quatorze jaunes d’oeufs, broyez-les à la cuiller et joignez-leur quatre cuillerées à bouche de bonne huile. Posez alors la casserole sur un feu doux ; liez la sauce en la tournant, retirez-la aussitôt qu’elle est à point, et lui incorporez encore un demi-verre d’huile, mais en l’alternant avec le jus d’un citron ; finir la sauce avec un peu d’estragon ou de persil haché et un peu de glace de viande.

Béarnaise Sauce

What Goes with Béarnaise Sauce?

Béarnaise Sauce can transform a simple grill and is the perfect accompaniment with salmon, chargrilled steaks, chicken and asparagus. If you love Eggs Benedict, you’ll know that poached eggs marry well with Hollandaise sauce – but try it with Béarnaise sauce, with its added herbs, and it is sheer luxury.

Béarnaise Sauce

Can Béarnaise Sauce Keep?

Béarnaise sauce is best when made as close as possible to serving.  Ideally I’m not a chef serving this in a restaurant so I don’t have these kind of worries at home but I hear the best way to keep Béarnaise sauce without it splitting is by keeping it in a thermos.

Ideally, serve within an hour (no more than 2 hours max.), keeping the sauce slightly warm (not hot!) over a pan of simmering water. If the sauce gets too hot and starts to split, add a little warm water.  Frankly, I’ve not had problems with the latter, as the recipe is so easy and as long as it’s served reasonably quickly, the results are light and fluffy.

The sauce also freezes well.

Sauce Béarnaise

Béarnaise Sauce Recipe

Many chefs make this straight in the pan using the same quantities in the recipe, just like Dumas describes above.  I prefer making it over a bain-marie (bowl over simmering water) and, although this method sounds more hassle, it’s actually much less easy to curdle the sauce and the result is light and sabayon or mousse-like. However, if you prefer to make the sauce in the same pan, then carefully ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too high.

Béarnaise Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

An easy recipe for the classic French Sauce Béarnaise, inspired by the creator in the 1830s near Paris, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

Course: Condiments
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Bearnaise, Bearnaise history, French cuisine, French sauces, Hollandaise, Parisian cuisine
Servings: 6
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 50 g (2oz) white wine vinegar
  • 90 g (3.5oz) white wine
  • 2 small shallots chopped finely
  • 3 branches fresh tarragon branches separated from finely chopped up leaves
  • 3 grinds black pepper
  • 3 egg yolks organic
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 125 g (4.5oz) unsalted butter gently melted
  • 1 tbsp fresh chervil finely chopped
  • pinch salt fleur de sel
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley (flat-leaf) optional
Instructions
  1. Bring the white vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon branches and pepper to a boil in a small saucepan. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat and leave to reduce for about 5 minutes until there's about a couple of tablespoons. Pour into another bowl and set aside to cool then filter out the shallots and herbs using a sieve.

  2. Fill the saucepan with 1/4 of water and bring to a simmer.  Place over it a large bowl with the cooled vinegar reduction, yolks and water then whisk constantly until the sabayon becomes mousse-like.

  3. After about 5 minutes, as soon as the sauce starts to thicken, take the bowl off the heat and, continuing to whisk, incorporate the warm, melted butter. Add the chopped tarragon, chervil and parsley, if using.  Season with a little salt and it's ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

If not serving straight away, keep at room temperature and return the bowl over the simmering water before ready to serve to re-heat, adding a little hot water if necessary.

 

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

The Béarn-ecessities of life
They’ll come to you …

Béarnaise Sauce

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Pear Belle Helene – A Parisian Musical Story

I do love a story – especially when it’s about something as delicious as a poached pear sitting on a scoop of vanilla ice cream and given a warm, clinging coat of French chocolate sauce. Did you know that the Parisian classic dessert, Pear Belle-Hélène, was born when a famous chef fell in love with a soprano’s silky voice?

It’s a pear-fectly scumptious love story between music and dessert.

Poire Belle Helene

La Belle-Hélène

The scrumptious musical inspiration happened in Paris, 17 December 1864 at the Théâtre des Variétés on Boulevard Montmartre. The French soprano, Hortense Schneider (known as la Snédèr) was singing the title role of Helen of Troy (or Sparta) in the first performance of Jacques Offenbach’s opera bouffe, La Belle-Hélène.

Funnily enough, the soprano was originally turned down by the Théâtre des Variétés when she came to Paris from Bordeaux. It’s thanks to Offenbach who invited her to the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens in Passage Choiseul, which the composer founded in 1855 for the performance of his operettas and opera bouffes. From then on, Hortense Schneider became a real Parisian celebrity – even if she was renowned for being a bit of a Prima Donna.

Poire Belle Helene - French recipes with a story

Chef Escoffier’s Creation on Helen’s Beautiful Pear

Captivated by Schneider’s silky smooth voice as the beautiful Helen at that first performance, the young chef, Auguste Escoffier – who would be a mere 18 years old – dreamt up this symphony of flavours: a pear poached in vanilla syrup, served with vanilla ice cream and topped with the silkiest smooth French chocolate sauce. Could the soprano have been a bit pear-shaped?

Here was chef Escoffier’s creation of Helen’s ‘Beautiful Pear’ (pun totally intended!) or Poire Belle-Hélène. Somehow it sounds so much better in French, doesn’t it?  Like a good tune, it’s all in the mixing of simple, good ingredients.  So, please use GOOD QUALITY CHOCOLATE for the sauce, good fresh Pear Williams (ripe but firm; not turnips, either!) – and if you don’t use homemade ice cream, then use good quality which uses vanilla beans/pods rather than just an aroma.

Poire Belle Helene #pears #dessertlove #parisian

The Most Intense Chocolate Sauce

As you can see from some of the photos, the chocolate sauce thickened as it became cool in taking these pictures.
If you prefer your sauce to be more liquid, then add just a little more cream before reheating.

Poire Belle Helene #dessertstory #pears #chocolatedesserts

Hazelnuts Crack the Top Note!

Normally the Pear Belle-Hélène dessert is garnished with grilled flaked almonds but, as I adore chocolate and hazelnuts together, toasted broken hazelnuts add a cracking crescendo to a delicious finale.  A chocolate hazelnut macaron adds a fabulous Encore (recipe in Mad About Macarons)

Pear Belle Helene Recipe

Poire Belle Helene Hazelnuts #dessertstory #dessertrecipes #chocolatepear

What Can I serve with Pear Belle-Hélène?

To bring out the tasty crunch of the toasted hazelnuts, serve with Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip Cookies – another perfect duet that sings along with Hortense’s interpretation of Offenbach and a Poire Belle-Hélène dessert!

 

Poire Belle Helene #dessertstory #Parisian

Pear Belle-Hélène: the Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Poire Belle Helene
Poire Belle Helene Dessert
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

The Classic Parisian dessert of a poached pear, vanilla ice cream and thick French chocolate sauce was invented by legendary chef, Auguste Escoffier, after hearing the French soprano, Hortense Schneider, sing the title role in Offenbach's Belle-Hélène in Paris, 1864.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 238 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 250 g (9oz) sugar
  • 500 ml (18fl oz) water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (optional)
  • 6 pears (Williams, ripe but firm) peeled, stalk and core left intact
  • 1 litre tub vanilla ice cream
  • 40 g (1.5oz) broken hazelnuts, grilled (for garnish)
Chocolate Sauce
  • 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) double cream (Crème fleurette 30% fat)
  • 50 ml (2fl oz) full cream milk
  • 125 g (4.5oz) dark chocolate bittersweet (at least 64%)
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, boil the water and sugar to form a syrup. Add the vanilla powder, if using.

  2. Peel the pears, leaving the stalk and the core intact. Ensure the pears are covered by the syrup by placing parchment paper on top and cover with a lid.  Poach in the syrup for about 30 minutes until tender.

  3. Remove the pears from the syrup and finely cut the ends off so that each pear can stand up right without falling over. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Chocolate Sauce:
  1. Heat together the cream and milk over a medium heat until nearly boiling. Break the chocolate into a bowl, pour over the hot cream and stir until the chocolate sauce is smooth.

Assembly:
  1. In each serving dish, serve 2 scoops of ice cream, top with a pear and pour over the sauce.  Garnish with grilled or toasted hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Serve with chocolate or chocolate-hazelnut macarons or with chocolate hazelnut cookies.

It's best to use pears that are just ripe (not over, not under). If slightly under, then allow for slightly more cooking/poaching time.

Nutritional Information: 238 calories per serving; 4g protein; 12g fat; 29g carbohydrates.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Poire Belle Helene #dessertstory #chocolatedessert #dessertrecipes

Poire Belle Helene – a Parisian Recipe with a Story