What is tarte Bourdaloue?
The tarte Bourdaloue is a tart that was created in the nineteenth century by a Parisian pastry chef. This dessert is a variation of the amandine (almond tart) and it is served hot or warm.
The tarte Bourdaloue is composed of large pieces of poached pears placed on a dough that is previously covered with frangipane or almond cream. Originally, the whole tart was then sprinkled with crushed macaroons and hazelnuts. It is also possible to incorporate less almond cream in the cream to make a frangipane, which is more economical.
With its crispy dough, its almond aroma, and the fruity and fresh delicacy of poached pears, the tarte Bourdaloue is a simple delight.
What is the origin of the tarte Bourdaloue?
The tarte Bourdaloue has its origins in the pastry shop located on Bourdaloue street in Paris. The peculiarity of this now famous pie initially lied in the cream with almonds, hazelnuts or crushed macaroons.
Louis Bourdaloue, a seventeenth century priest, has no real connection with this famous tart. This priest had such talent as an orator that he was nicknamed “king of preachers and preacher of the kings”. His sermons were so long that he also gave his name to a vase used by the ladies to relieve themselves.
But it was only two centuries later that a pastry chef was looking for a name for his tasty tart. Short of ideas, he finally gave it the name of the street where he has his pastry shop, Bourdaloue, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. Opinions diverge on the pastry chef who is at the origin of this pie. Some attribute the tarte Bourdaloue to Fasquelle and others to Lesserteur.
Bourdaloue or amandine with pears?
The tarte bourdaloue is often called amandine aux poires (pear amandine). However, the arrangement of five or six star-shaped pears is typical of the tarte Bourdaloue, while for the amandine, which uses the same ingredients, the pear slices are arranged in a spiral manner, similar to a classic French apple tart.
Indeed, the first written version of the recipe for the tarte Bourdaloue as we know it now appeared for the first time in Le Grand Livre de la Cuisine, by Prosper Montagné and Prosper Salles, published in 1929.
Originally, it was not a tart but a dessert prepared with poached apricots, inserted in a frangipane cream flavored with vanilla, and covered with broken crushed macaroons.
I have to admit that I am more of a tart fan than a cake fan, and this tarte Bourdaloue has been a go-to recipe for a long time. The rich almond cream, which is also used in the pithivier version of galette des rois, is a cream that can be used for any fruit tart, and would pair really well with apricots or peaches.
This recipe is validated by our culinary expert in French cuisine, Chef Simon. You can find Chef Simon on his website Chef Simon – Le Plaisir de Cuisiner.
- 1¼ cup caster sugar
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 pears
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ¼ cup ground almond
- 1½ cup flour
- A pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup caster sugar
- ¾ cup ground almond
- 3 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons apricot jam
- In a saucepan, add the sugar and water, and bring to a boil.
- Peel the pears and cut them in half. Core them.
- Add the vanilla extract to the sugar syrup.
- Dip the pears in the syrup.
- Poach over low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Drain and let the pears cool on a plate, flat side down.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugar using the flat beater.
- Then add the ground almond, then the flour and salt and continue mixing.
- Finally add the egg and continue mixing to obtain a homogeneous dough.
- Take the dough and form a large disc with it. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let stand in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix all the ingredients with the flat beater, adding them one by one in order.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it down to a slightly larger circle than the tart mold and to a thickness of about ⅙ inch.
- Lightly grease the mold with butter.
- Carefully roll the dough around the rolling pin, then carefully unroll the dough onto the mold.
- Apply the dough all around, against the edges of the mold.
- Roll over with the rolling pin to cut the excess dough.
- Using a sharp knife, get rid of the excess dough that protrudes from the mold.
Return the mold to the refrigerator for 15 minutes so that the dough is cold when ready to bake.
- Apply a layer of the almond cream with a piping bag, or spread with a spatula.
- Cut the poached half pears into regular thin slices with a sharp knife.
- Carefully arrange the sliced half pears onto the almond cream.
- Sprinkle the tart with thinly sliced almonds.
- Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cook the apricot jam in a saucepan over low heat for a few minutes.
- Apply the apricot glaze over the entire surface of the tart with a brush.