La Tarte Tropézienne is a cream bun with a celebrity history. Apparently, Bridget Bardot loved these tasty treats when they were in their infancy, and encouraged their chef, Alexandre Micka, to come up with a name for them. Their popularity grew from there.
This tasty treat is a brioche bun filled with a ‘velvety mix’ of two creams, tasting of custard, cream and orange blossom water. As you can see, the filling is generous. The bun is topped with chunky lumps of sugar.
The recipe has remained a well-kept secret. Other bakeries copy it, and some have added their own touches, like almonds. Tarte Tropézienne purists (like myself) understand there can be no improvement on perfection, and finding a good Tarte Tropézienne is an ongoing challenge in less tropical places like the French Alps.
Visiting St Tropez a few weeks ago, I made a beeline for the original shop where the Tarte Tropézienne was sold. I bought a slice to eat right away, and a large tarte to share with the friends I was visiting.
So how did it stack up against the previous versions I’d tried? The filling of the single slice lived up to everything I had imagined. Tasty, smooth, creamy, yet light. All four of us who worked our way through the large Tarte Tropézienne agreed that the filling wasn’t as tasty as it should have been. I couldn’t taste any orange blossom water, but perhaps my taste buds had enjoyed the filling so much the first day that they demanded a stronger version the next.
Having tried to make this twice in the past few years and failing, I appreciate the effort required to get the perfect Tarte Tropézienne. For those who might remember my gingerbread boat disaster, here’s more stupidity. The first time around, I made the brioche with levure chemique (raising agent) instead of levure boulanger (yeast). The result was a giant custard cream biscuit. The stupid part was that I knew the difference and just didn’t think about it at the time. The second time, my custard lumped, and when I blended it with the cream mix. thinking I could beat it into submission, the consistency was like rice pudding from a can. It tasted nice between the lumps of badness, but the lumps ruined it. So, any Tarte Tropézienne that doesn’t have almonds and doesn’t have rice-like lumps gets my vote, and the original one does too.