Photo by Stephanie Bourgeois

Ingredients:

  • Orange Blossom Filling:

    • 2 sheets gelatin
    • 7 tablespoons sugar
    • 5 tablespoons flour
    • 3 egg yolks
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 1/2 cups milk
    • One 3-inch piece orange peel
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
    • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 3 teaspoons orange blossom water, divided
    • 1/2 cup cream
  • Brioche:

    • 3 tablespoons milk, divided
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh yeast
    • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 eggs, divided
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
    • Pearl sugar
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Recipe notes: You can find fresh yeast in some high-end grocers and health food stores; some bakeries will sell it to you if you ask. Pearl sugar can be purchased in baking supply stores or online.

RECIPE

Tarte Tropézienne with Strawberries and Pistachios

Meredith Tomason

Craft, NYC

This cloud-like pastry takes its name from Saint-Tropez, a popular vacation spot in the French Riviera.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Method:

To make the orange blossom filling, soak the gelatin in a large bowl of cold water. Whisk together the sugar, flour, egg yolks, and salt in a heat-proof bowl. Whisk in the milk, orange peel, and vanilla bean seeds and pod. Place the bowl over a double boiler over medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture has come to a boil and thickened, about 7 minutes. Whisk in the butter, piece by piece, until it is all incorporated. Remove from the heat. Remove the gelatin from the water and squeeze gently to remove any excess water. Add the gelatin to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of the orange blossom water. Chill overnight.

To make the brioche, combine 1 tablespoon of the milk with the fresh yeast and whisk until smooth. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt on low speed. Add the remaining milk, 3 of the eggs, and the egg yolk; increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough becomes a bit webby, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the yeast mixture and continue mixing until a ring of dough is left on the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes. Add the butter piece by piece, letting each piece fully incorporate before adding the next. Once all of the butter is incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to medium-high and mix for 20 to 30 minutes, until the dough forms a ball on the dough hook and keeps itself there. 



Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, until the dough doubles in size. Chill for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle. Trim off the edges to make an 8-inch disk. (You can save the scraps to make mini brioche buns.)

Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined sheet tray. Combine the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the top and sides of the dough with the egg wash. Let the dough sit at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325ºF while you wait for the dough to proof.

Brush the dough once more with the egg wash and generously sprinkle all over with pearl sugar. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the brioche every 5 minutes. The finished brioche should have an internal temperature of 200ºF.  Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

To assemble the tarte, combine the remaining orange blossom water with the cream. Whip the cream until it forms medium peaks, then fold in the chilled orange blossom mixture in 2 additions. Using a serrated knife, cut the brioche in half horizontally. Spread a generous layer of the filling onto the bottom half of the brioche; sprinkle with strawberries and pistachios. Top with the upper half of the brioche. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.