It was love at first sight when I made Chef Hidemi Sugino’s Tartelette aux Figues some years back. The composition of this creation is simpler in comparison to some of his other works, most notably Ambroisie which won him the Coupe de Monde Patissiere more than 20 years ago in Lyon. Since then I had made them twice again over the last 2 years, making slightly changes and modifications along the way to make it more workable for our tropical weather, especially in a non-air conditioned kitchen like mine. Whenever I see good figs on display at our local supermarkets, I think of Sugino’s Fig Tarts, a recipe from his recipe book, Le Gout Authentique Retrouve but seldom makes its appearance in his dessert boutique in Kyobashi Tokyo. So now in 2015 I made them again, as a quick revision of some classic techniques in French pastry making. Thankfully this season’s black figs did not let me down.
I’m on a tart making spree! This happened once several years back when there was an online tart and pie bake-along event where I did Pierre Hermé’s Tarte Ispahan, Ladurée’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises and the classic Tarte Bourdaloue aux poires all in a short span of just days apart from each other. It was crazy but fun!
Days back, I saw good figs at our local supermarket, and was determined to reprise Hidemi Sugino’s Tartelette aux Figues which I also did at the end of that same year back in 2011 but alas came feijoas and I got distracted, out of which Tartelette au Feijoa et Chocolat Noir was created. However, determined not to let those beautiful fresh figs, and the extra pâte sucrée in the fridge go to waste, I made yet another round of of tartlets, this time a pairing between figs and rosemary, Tartelettes aux Figues et Romarin, inspired by flavours of the Mediterranean Aegean Sea.
タルトレット • オ • フィグ Tartelette aux Figues, a re-creation of another of Hidemi Sugino’s recipes. I’d been wanting to try out this recipe ever since I’d gotten his book, Le Goût Authentique Retrouvé 素材より素材らしく―杉野英実の菓子 last year. In fact, it was the first recipe that I’d laid my eyes on and was like “WOW!”. There were several opportunities earlier on as we saw several imports of figs from Israel, California and then Israel again but somehow I’d let them slip by. Too ripe, not sweet enough, wrong tartlette moulds… so many deterring factors. Alas the stars finally aligned nicely with everything seemingly in place, so here I am trying it out!
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.
The weather has been excruciatingly warm all week and is becoming almost unbearable! Climatic patterns have changed and gone gaga around the world. Tornado and hurricane season coming too early whilst the rains refuse to come. How long more have we got to endure this…
On a more positive note, summer fruits from the northern hemisphere comes early this season. Just after we saw a massive shipment of Korean strawberries a month back, now comes the Californian ones, with our local supermarkets selling them very cheaply for punnets twice the size of those korean ones. This is too tempting an offer to resist. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are also available in abundance now. Californian blueberries are in season now when we saw their Argentinian or Chilean cousins just a month back. When else than now could be a better time for one to experience the summer berries galore!
Valentine’s Day’s just round the corner and its a wonderfully tied in with the season of summer berries. I absolutely adore raspberries, both its rich colour and textures as well as its delicate tartness. While stocking up punnets of raspberries and blueberries which I could use throughout the off-season months, I remember chancing upon a recipe over Martha Steward’s website for “Heart-shaped Raspberry Napoleon” and I knew I have to make it for this month’s Aspiring Bakers’ theme “Love is in the Air” hosted by Ellena of Cuisine Paradise.
The recipe can be simple or difficult, depending on how much one decides to stretch oneself. I decided to go the hard way and give myself a challenge!