Ladurée’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises
When news of a new Ladurée publication “Sucré: The Recipes” broke out more than a year ago, it created quite a stir amongst the culinary scene. The pre-orders were selling like hotcakes leading to the title selling out before it was even published! Opportunistic resales on amazon and other online bookstores at astronomical prices but yet it didnt seem to deter hardcore pastisserie afficionadoes from snapping them up at 3-digit prices. Thankfully I didn’t yield to the temptations then or I’d probably be banging my head against the wall now. Resale pricing fluctuated over the next couple of months and that meant quite a bit of “price watching” over the major online bookstores, not unlike market share prices. When “the price was right”, I went in and made the kill. Finally got a copy for myself at a very satisfying 42 bucks including shipping. I last checked with a local Japanese bookstore in town and it was going at a whooping 71. I can only say that I’m a very happy man…
Which recipe should I try first? So many delectable recipes from macarons to petits gateaux, viennoiseries to entremets, there’s even a recipe for french waffles which’s so intriguing!!! Well, for me at least. But I settled for a individual tartelette recipe which calls for two fruits which are in season now, cherries and apricots. Ladurée’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises it shall be.
Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises (from Ladurée’s “Sucré: The Recipes”)
for 8 indivdual tartlets
350g of Pate Sucree aux Amandes aka sweet almond pastry (see below)
3 tbsp All-purpose flour for work surface
1 ½ tbsp butter for tartlet rings
Crème d’ Amandes aux Pistache
250g of Crème d’ Amandes
30g pistachio paste
15g shelled raw pistachios
5g shelled raw pistachios for decoration
Crisp sweet pastry for crumble topping
160g crumble dough (see below)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Pate Sucree aux Amandes (for 450g of dough)
120g very cold butter
70g icing sugar
25g ground almond
A few drops of vanilla extract
200g cake flour
50g very cold butter
50g AP flour
50g granulated sugar
50g ground almond
Crème d’ Amandes (350g)
100g icing sugar
100g ground almond
1 tbsp rum
(A) To prepare Pate sucree for tartelette shells
Work the butter to homogenize and then add the following ingredients, one by one, making sure to fully incorporate each into the mixture before the next addition:
(1) Sifted confectioners’ sugar
(2) Ground almonds
(3) Fleur de sel
Combine ingredients just until the dough comes together; do not overwork the dough
Form dough into a ball and wrap with cling film
Refrigerate for a t least 2 hours
Cute butter into small pieces and place in mixer bowl with paddle attachment
Butter tartelette rings/pans.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to 2 mm thick
Using a pastry cutter or bowl, cut out discs appro. 5 inches and press into butter pans.
Cut chilled butter into small pieces
Sift flour into large bowl and add butter, sugar, ground almonds and salt until dough just comes together
Form a ball and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using
Roll out dough to ½ cm thickness and cut into 1- cm cubes
Incorporate butter with icing sugar, ground almonds, cornstarch, eggs and rum in this order. Prepare in situ before using.
Chop pistachios and add to cream with pistachio paste
Preheat oven to 170C
Remove tartelettes shells from refrigerator. Using a fork, dock the dough to keep from puffing up during baking.
Bake blind with tartelette shells lined with parchment paper weighed down with dried beans or baking weights
Bake for 20 min until lightly coloured.
Fill piping bag with pistachio almond cream
Pipe into tartelette shells and arrange apricot slices or pitted cherries over them
Cover with crumble dough, using pieces of various shapes and sizes
Having done Tarte Fruits aux Rouges before using Sugino’s recipe gave me more confidence to try out this recipe. And this time round, I’m “better equipped” with correctly type of tart rings.
This is also the first time I’m trying out Sevarome’s pistachio paste. It reeked of alcohol and was quite overbearing. I was really skeptical about the pistachio paste after it was added to the creme d’ amandes but despite all doubts, I forged on to complete the recipe. Thankfully, the baked tartelettes inherited none of that. The almond essence was quite strong though.
If I were to do it again, I would arrange the processed fruit pieces into the tart shell first before piping in the cream d’ amandes aux pistache. That would provide better control to how much almond cream to pipe.
As the title implies, its a recipe for apricot or cherry tartletlettes. I’m lucky that summer’s here and we have both stone fruits available. So I made both versions, including a tartelette which used both at the same time. So that’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots et Cerises, strictly speaking! I found them too mild somewhat. I think plums and prunes would probably work very well, as it has somewhat sourish overtones, which one be of good contrast to the sweet almond-pistachio cream and tart base. I’m also curious about the use of sour cherries like Griotte and other morello varieties. Unfortunately the only fresh ones we get are sweet ones like Bing and Rainier.
The Croustillantes provided a new crunch which is somewhat different from the textures rendered by the crust. That gave the tartelettes more dimension and depth. But truth be told, I found them somewhat lacking. The flavours are somewhat mild and the textures don’t seem to amalgamate together much. Perhaps I’m too used to some more “full-bodied” flavours and textures like Tarte Caramel Salé and Tarte aux citron.
The original recipe called for “shortcrust pastry” which is “Pâte brisée“. I found that rather weird as my impression of it is for savory pies, tarts or quiches. And interestingly, all the other fruit-themed tarts in the book used almond sweet crust pastry “Pâte Sucrée aux Amandes“. So I used the almond sweet crust pastry here instead. Not implying that there’s a typo in Laduree’s book, as such a such a masterpiece would necessarily have been crafted with great care and careful thought, not to mention very thorough cross-checking. But I wasn’t adventurous enough to try out with Pâte brisée and decided to play safe with Pâte Sucrée aux Amandes instead. But it left me very curious about this recipe and I was hoping if there’s any possibility of verifying this with Chef Andrieu. Well, I emailed Ladurée and the publisher, Scriptum Editions about it and let’s just wait to see if there’s an answer of any kind. 🙂
A peek into the Tartelette Croustillantes Abricots
And here’s a slice through Tartelette Croustillantes Cerises
I love the pale emerald hue from the Crème d’ Amandes aux Pistache
I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by Janine of Not the Kitchen Sink!”