When I wrote my book, Paris Pastry Club, more than gimmicky or trendy recipes, I wanted to share my absolute favourite basics; ones you can tweak endlessly, creating an amazing repertoire of recipes to call your own. These tartes tropéziennes are just this, a tweak on two recipes from my book. The brioche, also known as ‘the last brioche recipe you’ll ever need’, and the crème mousseline, turned crème madame, for the occasion. Crème madame is a crème pâtissière (pastry cream) to which butter and whipped cream have been added. It should be firm and glossy, and will set into a rich cream.
- 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
- 200 g pearl sugar, to sprinkle
- 30 g milk
- 275g plain flour
- 30 g vanilla sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp dried yeast
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 160 g unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 500 g milk
- 3 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
- 4 egg yolks
- 150 g caster sugar
- 50 g cornflour
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
Orange blossom syrup
- 100 ml water
- 70 g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp orange blossom water
- 150 g butter, at room temperature
- 600 g crème pâtissière (above)
- 100 g thickened cream, whipped to stiff peaks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 2 hours
Chilling time overnight, plus four hours
You will need to begin this recipe 1-2 days ahead.
To make the brioche, using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the flour, vanilla sugar and salt on low speed to combine, then mix in the yeast. Pour in the milk, eggs and orange blossom water. Switch to medium speed and knead, scraping the sides of the bowl every now and then to ensure everything is amalgamated, for 10 minutes or until the dough can be stretched without breaking. Alternatively, mix the ingredients by hand, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough can be stretched without breaking.
Add the butter, one piece at a time, and when almost all of it is in, increase the speed to high and knead until smooth (or knead by hand). The dough should have stopped sticking to the side of the bowl (or work surface) and should be silky and very smooth, although somewhat tacky. Transfer the dough to a container, covering surface with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge overnight.
To make the pastry cream, place the milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined (this prevents the egg yolks clumping). Add the cornflour and whisk well until combined. Pour one-third of the milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking as you do so. (This step is key when making crème pâtissière (pastry cream) as it loosens the egg yolks but also tempers them, avoiding any lumps.)
Add the egg mixture to the pan, return to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken and boil. Cook for a further 3 minutes, then transfer to a plastic container and cover the surface with plastic wrap to avoid the formation of a skin. Chill in the fridge overnight.
To make the orange blossom syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add the orange blossom water. Set aside at room temperature overnight.
The next day, place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, gently press to degas, and divide into 8 x 75 g squares. Roll each square into a ball, then roll into a 1 cm-thick disk, roughly 8 cm wide. Arrange the disks of brioche on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with a lightly oiled double layer of plastic wrap and set aside to prove for 1½ hours or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the brioche with the beaten egg, then generously sprinkle with the pearl sugar. Bake for 15–17 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
In the meantime, make the crème madame. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the crème pâtissière, one-third at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all of the pastry cream is added, beat for 5 minutes; the mousseline should be firm and glossy. (If the butter has seized a little, simply place the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water for a few seconds before beating for 1-2 minutes. Or, use a blowtorch to heat the sides of your bowl. Repeat until all the butter has disappeared and you’re left with a gorgeously thick crème mousseline.) Finally, gently fold in the whipped cream. Place the crème madame in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up slightly.
Once the brioche are cool, slice in half with a large bread knife and generously brush the cut side with syrup. Transfer the crème madame to a piping bag fitted with a 10 mm nozzle and pipe the cream around the rim of the bottom halves of the brioche, then pipe a large ball in the centre. Top each brioche with its matching ‘hat’.
Refrigerate, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours or overnight for the filling to firm and flavours to combine, then serve.