Tarte Tropeziénne is a traditional cake of Saint Tropez, the original recipe is a secret, filed and patented by Alexandre Micka.
He was a Polish pastry who moved to the Provence in the fifties and made this cake with a family recipe learned from his grandma.
The base of the cake is a fluffy and light brioche that, usually, is filled with mousseline cream or chiboust cream, but as these fillings are a little complicated and with an high calorific value, I preferred filling my cake with a more simple pastry cream.
However, you can use your creativity and fill your cake with what you’d like, what is important is that your cream must be firm and stand up on its own, so it will not melt from the cake when you cut into slices, causing a bad presentation.
For my tarte tropeziénne’s recipe, I was inspired from the chef Simon’s one.
I introduced some ‘variations on the theme’, particularly about the preparing and rising process of the dough, I was astonished how good and light it resulted!
For the brioche’s dough I used an indirect method and a long maturation.
If you prefer, you can avoid to let it sit in the fridge and go on with normal rising (possibly at room temperature or not more than 25-26°C), but you have to know that to obtain better results with leavened doughs, you don’t have to be in a hurry…
If you choose long maturation method, I suggest to start making the poolish (starter) in the afternoon (from 16.00 to 17.00), so the dough could sit in the fridge overnight and you could bake the brioche the day after in the morning.
Knead this dough by hand would be quite hard, so I suggest using a stand mixer.
The filling cream will have to be cold and thick; you had better make it in advance (even the evening before).
Tarte Tropeziénne recipe
- 50 gr of strong flour (Manitoba flour, around 14% of protein)
- 60 ml of milk
- 2 gr of fresh baker’s yeast
- 250 gr of strong flour (Manitoba flour, around 14% of protein)
- 130 gr of butter
- 20 gr of sugar
- 3 eggs (medium size)
- 4 gr salt
- 1 tablespoon of acacia honey (or other liquid honey)
- One half of a vanilla bean’s seeds
- The rind of an organic orange (or lemon)
- A beaten egg
- Sugar or granulated sugar as required
- Icing sugar as required
- 467 ml of dairy whole milk
- 200 ml of dairy liquid thick cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 67 gr of cornstarch
- 94 gr of sugar
- 2 pieces of the rind of an organic lemon
- One-half of a vanilla bean’s pod
For the poolish (starter)
For the dough
For the top
For the pastry cream
Making the pastry cream
Combine the milk with 150 ml of thick cream, the pod of the vanilla bean (the one of which you will use seeds for the brioche), the pieces of the lemon’s rind and bring it to a soft boil (you can do it in a microwave oven).
Combine the egg yolks and the sugar in a steel small pot, beating whit a whisk. Add the cornstarch. When you get a uniform mixture, without lumps, add the 50 ml of thick (cold) cream remaining and mix well.
Take out the pieces of lemon rind and the vanilla pot from the hot milk and pour it in the small pan beating with the whisk. Put the mixture on the stove at low heat and wait for it to clot continuing beating.
As soon as the cream has reached the right texture, put away from the stove (remember that getting cold it will get also thicker).
Let the cream get cooler mixing every now, again for five minutes, then pour it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, sealed on the surface. Let the cream get cool and let it chill in the fridge until you need it.
Before using the cream to fill your cake, beat it with an electric whisk (or with the whisk of the stand mixer), to reacquire the right texture.
Making the tarte tropeziénne
Prepare the poolish (starter) melting down the baker’s yeast in your milk, which has to be at room temperature or a little warmer.
Put the flour in a glass, pour in the milk and mix until you get a thick batter, cover the glass with a little dish and let it ferment until the poolish will redouble his volume and you will see some bubbles burst on the surface (it will take an hour and half or two, depending on the temperature).
Take the butter out of the fridge half an hour before the time to make the dough, and chop it.
On the contrary, eggs will have to be cold.
When your starter will be ready, put it in the stand mixer bowl and add flour, sugar, honey, vanilla seeds and the grated orange rind.
Using the dough hook, switch on your stand mixer at slow speed, then start adding your eggs one at a time to let them get well absorbed. With the last egg, you can add the salt.
When you’ll see the dough getting to the right texture and becoming elastic, add about a quarter of your chopped butter.
Get it well mixed and then stop the stand mixer just a moment.
Gather the dough in the bowl with the aid of a silicone shovel, detach it from the hook and from the borders, done this, turn it upside down.
Switch the stand mixer between a minute on slow speed and a minute on medium speed.
Go on like this until the dough wraps around the hook and detaches from the bowl.
Continue kneading at slow speed only.
Now you can add the other part of your butter little by little, after every addition let it combine well, then switch from low to medium speed just for a few seconds keeping the dough tightens up.
Finished with the butter, gather the dough in the bowl again, turn it upside down and knead again until the dough looks like before (wrapped around the hook).
Now put the dough down on a well-floured board, round it and put it in a bowl greased with butter, drape a piece of plastic wrap over it and deflate it by gently pressing down on it with your hand.
Let it rise for two or three hours at room temperature, until you’ll see the dough starting to grow, then put it into the fridge letting it chill for about 12 hours.
After this time, take the brioche dough out of the refrigerator and put it out at room temperature for about two hours.
Detach it carefully from the bowl and put it down on a well-floured board, sprinkle with a little flour on the top and roll it out carefully applying a rectangle form that you will roll up as a loaf and will slice in shapes as you prefer.
Now, you can do some different things: make just one big tarte tropeziénne with all the dough in a 28 cm cake pan, halve the dough and make two smaller cakes in 18 cm cake pans, or split the dough in 50 gr shapes and make some mini-tropeziénne.
When your brioches will be baked and cooled, you can freeze theme (not filled with cream), or keep theme for a day placed in food bags well closed.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 2 cm trying to get a round form.
After you rolled the dough out, if you notice some bubbles, you can punch them with a toothpick.
Put the dough in the cake pan greased with butter or covered with parchment paper and set it carefully with your fingers trying to give it a regular thickness without dimples.
Cover the cake pan with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.
For mini-tropeziénne round the dough making some little balls and put them in a tray covered with parchment paper, flatten them a little, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.
When rising is complete, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle on granulated sugar abundantly.
Bake at 180°C (your oven has to be already hot, in conventional oven mood) and let it bake until it gets well coloured (about 35 minutes for the 38 cm’s cake, 25-30 minutes for the 28 cm’s one and 15-20 minutes for the mini-tropeziénne).
If baking, your brioche gets too brown, cover with a tinfoil.
When baked, allow your tarte tropeziénne to cool and, before serving, slice the brioche horizontally, fill it with your pastry cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.