The town of St Tropez is known for many things — a luxurious spot for celebrities is arguably one of its defining features. The most iconic personality linked with St Tropez is bombshell Brigitte Bardot who put the town on the map. Now, many flock to this French holiday destination, keenly known for its sexy image. From millionaires mooring their yachts at the Vieux Port to the tourists admiring from afar, a luxury lifestyle is a dream come true when you stay in St Tropez.
What’s more luxurious than the people, however, are the views. The cobbled lanes glisten in the sunlight, just as much as the crystal water. You can drink these views in for days, weeks even. And to add to your appetite for luxury offerings, a heavenly dessert known as the Tarte Tropézienne.
What is Tarte Tropézienne?
Tarte Tropézienne, also known as ‘La Tarte de Saint-Tropez’, is a creamy, delicious dessert from the South of France. It is the combination of a classic brioche, filled with an irresistible mixture of vanilla and lemon cream. Hard sugar crystals cover the top for a super sweet treat.
A Brief History of Tarte Tropézienne
The tarte tropézienne originates from St Tropez in the 1950s. To be precise, the dessert was the design of a young Polish baker called Alexandre Micka who lived in St Tropez. He opened a bakery in the main square of the town in 1955, and one fateful day he created a dessert combining traditional French brioche with elements from a recipe passed down by his grandmother.
Coincidentally, around the time of Micka’s opening of his bakery, a film crew arrived in St Tropez to produce a film called And God Created Woman. The star was Brigitte Bardot who was then a relatively unknown gem – much like St Tropez at the time! Roger Vadim, the then-husband of Brigitte Bardot, hired Alexandre Micka to cater for the crew. Micka went on to start a love affair between Bardot and his divine dessert. Rumour has it, it was Bardot who decided to name the desert after the town. And just as Bardot grew in popularity, so did the pudding she fell in love with.
Being loved for almost sixty years now, the dessert is an icon of traditional Southern French cooking; what’s more, it conjures imagery of the glam days of 60s St Tropez. The dessert became so popular that Micka decided to trademark it in 1973, establishing his business under the name La Tarte Tropézienne. The company has continued to grow ever since, with the recipe a traditional secret that makes the dessert even sweeter!
What Makes a Good Tarte Tropézienne?
There are many variations of tarte tropézienne, available in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you can find tarte tropézienne with strawberries on the top or with almonds inside. However, many believe the original cannot be beaten with its rich texture and taste.
You can find the traditional and original tropézienne in one of the many La Tarte Tropézienne branches across the South of France. The original bakery is the Traverse des Lices in St Tropez which is open daily from 6:30 am to 8 pm.
Making Tarte Tropézienne at Home
Making your own tarte tropézienne at home couldn’t be easier. We can’t guarantee it will be as good as the original, but it will come a close second. So, if you’re unable to make it to France this year and want to relive fond memories, or you want to make your own at your luxury holiday villas, South of France, then we’ll run you through the recipe!
To begin with, you’ll need to collect all the ingredients and utensils listed below.
For the brioche: 400g flour, 15g yeast, 10g salt, 30g sugar, 2 eggs, 100g unsalted butter and 1 egg yolk for the glaze.
For the cream filling (ideally made the day before): 280g milk, 170g whipping cream, 1 vanilla pod, 50g caster sugar, 20g crème pâtissière powder, 4 egg yolks, 3 gelatine sheets, 250g mascarpone, 3 cl d’orange blossom water, 2cl kirsch and 200g whipped cream.
For the topping: 50g slightly salted butter, 50g brown sugar, 50g almond meal, 50g flour and 50g pearl sugar.
For the syrup: 20cl cane sugar syrup, 3cl orange blossom water and 2cl kirsch.
Utensils needed: Saucepan, stainless steel mixing bowl, stand mixer, non-stick baking sheets, stainless steel mousse ring, flat pastry brush and piping bags.
Tarte Tropézienne recipe:
1) Place the gelatine sheets in the cold water to begin the cream filling.
2) Into the saucepan, pour the milk and whipping cream, putting on a low to medium heat.
3) Splitting the vanilla pods in half, scrape the seeds out. Add the pod and seeds to the milk to give it great flavour.
4) While the milk heats up, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar in the mixing bowl to create a pale and fluffy consistency. Add the crème pâtissière powder to the mixture, combining it with a whisk.
5) When the milk begins to boil, pour over the egg mixture and mix with the whisk. Allow it to cook for a few minutes, occasionally stirring to ensure it does not stick to the pan.
6) Once thickened, transfer it into a separate bowl.
7) Strain out the gelatine sheets, making sure as much water as possible is extracted. Once done, add these to the hot créme pâtissière and combine using the whisk until the sheets fully dissolve.
8) Add in the mascarpone, mixing well until all lumps are gone. Finish with the kirsch and orange blossom water.
9) Transfer the mixture into a recipient, placing some cling film over the top. This should be put into a fridge overnight.
10) The next day, begin with your brioche dough making by diluting one-quarter of the flour and the yeast in warm water. The ideal mixture will be a soft consistency. Allow it to rise (at least double in volume) in a warm place.
11) Use the rest of the flour to make a fountain, adding the eggs, salt and sugar to the centre. Knead it with a stand mixer.
12) Add in the leavening agent, resuming the kneading until the dough moulds into a ball.
13) To this, add the softened butter. Knead again until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
14) Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl, and cover the bowl with a cloth. Place the bowl in a warm room.
15) When the dough has risen, check with the back of your hand. If it’s bouncy, leave it to stand to the side.
16) Grease a baking sheet, using an oil spray to allow for easy release from the mould.
17) Spread the dough so that it covers a metal round (around 26cm in diameter should do). Place this onto the baking sheet.
18) Placing the mousse ring on top of the dough, cut around and discard the bits from the outside of the ring.
19) Leave the dough to rise more in a warm room for about an hour.
20) Preheat the oven to 180C.
21) While you wait on the dough, prepare the topping by placing the softened salted butter, brown sugar, almond powder and flour into the stand mixer. Knead the mixture until it becomes coarse and grainy.
22) Pop in the pearl sugar, working it with your fingers.
23) Go back to your dough when its risen, and glaze it with an egg wash (mixing 20cl of water per egg yolk).
24) Sprinkle the sugar topping onto the dough ring and pop it into your preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden.
25) Take the brioche out of the oven and let it stand to cool.
26) Take out the filling that was prepared the day before. Beat it with a hand mixer to bring back its smooth consistency.
27) Add in the 200 grams of whipped cream, gently combining the two. Scoop this mixture into your piping bag.
28) Split the brioche in two with a serrated knife, setting the top half of the brioche to one side.
29) Pipe the base of the brioche with the filling in your piping bags. We recommend starting on the edges and working your way to the centre using a spiral motion. Ideally, you want a thick covering!
30) Pop the top back on, gently to avoid any toppling. For extra flavour, add the syrup made up of kirsch and orange blossom water to the top of the brioche. Refrigerate the tarte tropézienne until the cream filling has firmed up.
31) Bring the tarte out and enjoy!
This is the end of our guide to the tarte tropézienne. We hope that you found our blog useful and will be trying your hand at making your own French dessert. Be sure to share your tarte tropéziennes with us on social media; we love nothing more than sharing in your adventures of France! What’s more, if you want to try the original for yourself, be sure to contact us for holiday villas and itineraries that will make your holiday to St Tropez the luxurious retreat you deserve.
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