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.
Making these tartlets was a last minute decision, wait, make that an impulse! The initial intention was really to make some of Sugino’s fig tartlets since we finally managed to get some good figs in Singapore this season. Last year’s were horrid. But then came along feijoas, which were on sale at our local supermarkets. I’d seen them last year but they were very expensive, since only one (premium) supermarket carried it, the price was kinda monopolised. That is what happens over here unfortunately yes… But this year, the prices dropped by more than half! No more excuse for not trying them. They were packaged as “zeijoas” since this batch were not from their native South America but New Zealand, where they are widely cultivated and grown by the kiwis in their backyards as a fruit tree. No prizes for how the name “zeijoa” came about but I’m hoping that our folks over here would not take this name too seriously as the actual one! More curiously, these “zeijoas” were marketed as “Causasian guavas”. I wonder how many actually knew that the common guava we’d been eating originated from Central and South America as well. Despite the slight similarities in taste , I wonder why would anyone do that. Oh well, I guess the logic is functional, mapping the known against the unknown, the familiar against the unfamiliar. But sounds kinda silly if you ask me, likening one to brand fettuccine as the “Italian mee kia” and yes in case you are wondering, it is being done by one of the popular brands for electrical goods, on their latest noodle making machine! Anyway, we’d digressed.
My first tasting of the feijoa I bought and I was blown away. The fruit had just beautifully ripened, with the core of the insides really gelatinous and sweet. The fruit was also highly perfumed, a bouquet of aromas which reminded me of bubble gum candy and a “grape-flavoured” soft drink called “Qoo”. It can be easily eaten by slicing lengthwise into two and scoop out the flesh as how one would eat a kiwi, with just a dessert spoon As we work towards the skin, the texture changes and becomes more… yes, you’d guessed it, guava-like, slightly fibrous and grainy in texture while the taste also developed from being sweet to sour. It is more juicy than the average guava. The progression of flavours was really interesting and I thought won’t it be great if I could put this into pastry?! And indeed I did! So here’s my little impulsive weekend baking venture, Tartelette au Feijoa et Chocolat Noir – Feijoa and Dark Chocolate Tartlets.
This is a review which is loooong overdue. Then again, so is the long list of things which I’d wanna write about! Photos were taken mid last year actually when I first visited Bonheur Pâtisserie, a little dessert boutique tucked along Duxton Road, in the heart of Tanjong Pagar. In fact, I’d made trips down in 3 quick successions all within a week, to try out their creations, many of which I felt exhibited novelty and innovativity. I’d once read somewhere, that a blog review becomes obselete after three months, as so many things could have changed, i.e. the chefs, the ingredients, the technique, etc…be it for the better or for the worse. But I’d decided to share it here, over a series of reviews nonetheless, as my tasting experience at Bonheur had been a rather pleasant one. I’m pretty sure yours would be too. Better late than never yeah? 🙂
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!
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.