This week has been so exciting!! And not just because my friends are visiting, which I am of course very excited about... but...
*Note: There will be a lot of exclamation points in this post...
They're the ones who inspired me to make them myself, even though nothing compares to theirs!
They have a long list of unique flavors like cassis, violette, rose, anise, etc... When I flew to India last summer and switched planes in Paris, I found a Ladurée cart in the airport and excitedly bought a couple boxes for my family. Yum!
So when I saw that they released a cookbook with their macaron recipes as well as other pastries, I just had to have it. They only recently translated the book to English and there was a long wait on Amazon but it's finally here! It came in a classic Ladurée box (that the macs come in) and the book is velvet with gold rimmed pages and gorgeous photos!
I was never that into French pastries, or so I thought... The desserts look so amazing, I want to try them all... and I find it interesting that every single recipe calls for cake flour, never all-purpose. I also love that they list the weight and cup measurements!
Their macaron recipe completely baffles me (it uses 6 and a half egg whites) and I'm going to need to try it ASAP but I was in the mood for a fruit tart since we had fresh berries at home. I've never made a real tart crust before... mine have always been more shortbread-y...
Also, my friends and I often used to get the Whole Foods fruit tarts for birthdays since they were so delicious, and now that I'm a baker, I figured I should master it at home.
This turned out great and it was so simple.. I made the Ladurée classic pastry cream, and added some Grand Marnier to it.
My only regret is that I halved the pastry cream because I am an idiot and didn't want to have too much of it. But the tart would have been much better with more of it! Note to self: Having leftovers is much better than not having enough...
Either way, the tart crust, the pastry cream, and the berries were divine. Joe knocked off the berries and just wanted to eat the tart with the cream!
So here's the Ladurée recipe for a basic tart with a vanilla pastry cream:
Pate Brisee (Basic tart dough)
Makes dough for 1 tart for 8 people
2 cups (250g) cake flour
9 TBS (125g) cold butter
Pinch of salt
4 TBS water
2 egg yolks
Sift the flour into a large bowl.
Cut the chilled butter into small pieces, along with the pinch of salt. Use the palm of your hands to work the butter into the flour until it resembles small grains or sand.
Add the water and the egg yolks and mix just until the dough is homogenous and hold together; don't overwork the dough.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour before using.
Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.
Roll out onto a tart pan.
Prick it with a fork to prevent puffing up during baking. Cover the pan with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or beans or almonds to prevent rising.
Bake for about 20 minutes, till it's golden.
Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream)
1 vanilla bean
1 2/3 cup (400ml) whole milk
3 TBS Grand Marnier
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup and 1 tbs (80g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
2 TBS (25g) butter
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Slice the vanilla bean in half. Scrape the interior to remove the seeds and add both the pod and seeds to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer.
Remove from heat, cover immediately to allow the vanilla to infuse into the milk for 15 minutes.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch till it's well incorporated. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and reheat the milk, bringing to a simmer. Pour the hot milk to the yolk mixture in thirds until it's fully incorporated (also to temper the egg yolks). Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan, add the Grand Marnier, and bring to a boil while whisking. Keep stirring and the cream will thicken.
Remove from heat when it's thick and pour the cream into a clean bowl. Allow to cool for 10 minutes so that it's still hot but not boiling. Incorporate the butter while stirring. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until ready to use.
After the tart and cream are both cooled, spread the cream into the tart and decorate with fruits!
PS. A huge thank you to whoever translated this book to English so that I could appreciate these recipes :)