Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce

As seen in this brioche tart video on PBS, Julia Child got all choked up and was lost for words in a brief awkward moment as she and Nancy Silverton, the guest baker and contributor of this recipe, were tasting the finished tart. Later she proclaimed that this was a dessert to cry over. "The best dessert I've ever eaten," Julia said.

How can I resist making this dessert? The entirety of it so that I can reproduce, the best way I can, what Julia had experienced. This recipe consists of a long list of different components: the brioche dough, the creme fraiche custard filling, the sabayon, and the poached fruits in a caramel-wine syrup. Is this the best dessert I've ever eaten? Would I make this again? On special occasion, perhaps? I wonder how fellow bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie who've made this dessert rate this tart. I am curious whether this is also the best dessert in the realm of public opinion.

I can't be happier making fruits-based desserts. I got some nectarines, black mission figs and blackberries, slightly cooked in the caramel-wine syrup. To me, the fruits make the brioche tart a more complete and balanced dessert.

The tricky part of the whole exercise was the amount of constant whisking (without stopping, which I failed miserably) in making the sabayon.

The stand mixer provided a welcome relief. Still the amount of whisking over a saucepan of boiling water (on a hot summer day) until the yolk mixture became voluminous and hot, turned this into a real tricep workout and an endurance test! A stand mixer is indispensable – from start (the dough) to finish (the sauce).

I'd also appreciate a more exact temperature guidance other than "almost too hot for you to stand when you dip your finger into the mixture." After some digging, now I know that the correct temperature for the sabayon to set properly is supposed to be: between 165 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, I almost blew it.

If I can find ways to reduce the amount of sugar, especially in the white secret sauce, this dessert could be a perfect ten. I love the taste and texture of it. The brioche and the creme fraiche custard combination is a sure winner. But I can't eat more of the tart because the sauce is super and, almost singularly and artificially, sweet. A minor distraction of an overall fantastic dessert, that can be served for breakfast or dinner.

A little cramped using a 9" springform pan
Custard-filled brioche 
White secret sauce is a sabayon made with a caramel-wine syrup


  1. Your picture looks absolutely perfect! Great job on tackling this one…your post made me think we missed out on this one since I sat this one out.:)

  2. I can't believe how golden and perfectly crimped your tart is! Also, the fruit looks heavenly! Great job!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I did the crimping twice, still wasn't perfect!

  3. wow--your brioche did bake up beautifully! i've seen this episode of the show several times and am glad we finally made this one.

  4. Beautifully done!
    This was one of the best I've ever had - I kind of almost understand the tears :-)