Tarte Bourdaloue aux poires is a classic french pear and almond tart whose origins seem to be in question. Some say it was created by Coquelin of La Pâtisserie Bourdaloue in 1909 and subsequently named it after the famous Parisienne street which the pastry shop still stands. 河田勝彦, the renowned Japanese patissier wrote in his book “Sélection de patisseries françaises anciennes et modernes” wrote that the first written record of this confection was in “Larousse Gastronomique” written by Proper Montagne which noted that it was created by Fasquelle, a patissier along rue Bourdaloue in the middle of the 19th century who named it after Louis Bourdaloue, a famous french jesuit from late 17th century [sic.]. Whatever the case, this is a very rustic tart and the recipe can be tweaked to suit one’s own likes. The recipe is made up of 3 simple parts, i.e. Pâte Sucrée, Crème d’amandes and Poires pochées. Here’s the version I’ve adapted from several recipes I’ve come across.
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.
I think many like me have experienced the frustrations of wanting to make something but discovered that an ingredient or tool or two is lacking in the pantry or inventory. Like three different types of vanilla beans Pierre Hermé calls for in his Tarte Infinitement Vanille, or the chic-looking square tartlette moulds in Sugino’s Tartlette aux Figues, are just some of the factors which had deterred me from attempting these recipes. Some of these ingredients may be seasonal, e.g. exotic berries and Rainier cherries, while others totally inaccessible, e.g. meyer lemons, quince, bergamot, wild strawberries fraises des bois…just to name a few, or simply out of this world… like talent!
I guess rhubarb is one of those things that fall into the “seasonal” category. I was absolutely enthralled when I recieved a “tipoff” that a good batch of them was in town a couple of weeks back, promptly me to go grab some before they are gone again. It would have to be another long year’s wait for the next Australian winter before we see them again and I don’t think I can survive the ordeal!
True to the word, they looked fabulous in all that vermilion brilliance. And while I was pondering over what to make with these, mulberries are sighted as well. Twice lucky! How often does one get that! Aran’s Rhubarb and Mulberry Crumb Cake came to mind quite naturally.