Tart Bourdaloue

by Eddy Van Damme on April 26, 2010

Certain desserts stand the test of time and one of those classics is la tart bourdaloue.  It has remained one of my favorites, both to make and to eat. Through the years I have made several versions and I particularly like to make the tart with the addition of ginger-pear marmalade or a black current (cassis) confiture. Not necessarily authentic, but I do prefer how these flavors interact and harmonize with the almonds and poached pears.

Poaching pears is best if done with pears which have started to ripen, a pear which is nearly completely ripe will absorb more flavor from the poaching syrup if compared to a hard unripe pear. Therefore buy pears about 3-4 days before you will need them and leave to ripen at room temperature. In the U.S. some of the best pears to poach are the Bosc variety. They have good flavor and will hold their shape real well after poaching and not become mushy.

Getting it all together!

The pears are poached in black currant (cassis) syrup which consequently makes the pears turn a beautiful amethyst color. Poaching the pears is the first step in this tart, which can be done a day or more ahead of time. Keep poached pears in the poaching juice in a refrigerator. The crust can either consist of a pate sablée or sweet tart dough (pate sucrée).  If sweet tart dough is used, I suggest to prebake the crust before filling it. A classis almond cream for the filling may consist of Rum which I have replaced with Black currant liquor.

Black Currant Poached Pears – less sweetened

Yield: 6 poached pears

Note: Depending on the saucepan used, it may be necessary to make additional poaching syrup to keep the pears fully submerged during poaching.

4 Cups (1 qt) Water 1 lit
1Cup (8 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 240g
½ Cup (4 oz) Black currant puree (cassis) 120 g
  1. Bring water, sugar and black currant puree to a boil. Meanwhile peel the pears and cut in half. Remove the core and stem.
  2. When the liquid boils add the pears and turn to a very low simmer. To properly poach and not to obtain any oxidation on the pears, the pears have to be totally submerged. Tip: to keep the pears submerged during poaching place a round silicone mold onto the pears.  Then place a weight into the mold.
  3. Poaching will take 35-45 minutes depending on size, ripeness and simmer.
  4. When the pears feel like uncooked chicken breast they are done. Keep in syrup until ready for use. Store refrigerated.
  5. The pears will obtain additional color overnight.

Almond tart dough

Yield: Almond tart dough for 2- 8 inch (20 cm) tarts

2 sticks (8 oz) Unsalted butter                , soft 240 g
1 Cup (4 oz) Powdered sugar 120 g
1 (1) Large egg 1
½ teaspoon ( ½ tsp) Salt 2.5 g
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Vanilla extract 2.5 ml
1 Cup (4 oz) Almond flour-meal 120 g
2 Cups (9 oz) All purpose –pastry flour 270 g
  1. In a bowl mix the butter until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and combine well. Scrape the bowl and add the egg, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Mix in the almond flour. Add all the flour at once and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Chill the dough until firm. About 30 minutes in the freezer or chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Roll the dough on a floured surface about 3 credit cards thick.
  5. Line the tart ring. Prick the dough with a fork and place in a 375°F (180°C) oven. After a few minutes check the tart, if bubbles develop prick the dough. Bake until blond in color-right before it turns golden, about 13-15 minutes.

Black Currant Jam – less sweetened

Note: Due to the high pectin content, this jam will thicken very fast and will be ready in minutes.

16oz (1 lb) Black currants 500 g
1 ½ Cups (12 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 360g
  1. If using frozen currants allow to thaw. If using fresh, smash the currants.
  2. Mix the thawed or smashed currants with sugar and stir to a boil.
  3. Using an immersion blender blend to a rough puree. Return to a boil for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  4. Test the doneness of the jam by placing it on a plate. If it is set when cooled it is done.

Almond Cream

If desired, pastry cream can be added to this almond cream. Adding about one fourth of pastry cream to the prepared almond cream is sufficient. Adding pastry cream will make the baked almond cream more moist.

8 oz (8 oz) Almond paste (63-65% almonds) 240 g
¼ Cup (2 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 60 g
1 stick (4 oz) Unsalted butter, soft 120 g
1Tablespoons (0.5oz) Black currant liquor 15 g
2 (2) Large eggs 2
2 Tablespoons (.75 oz) All purpose or pastry flour 20 g
  1. Using a paddle attachment blend the almond paste with the sugar.
  2. In very small increments add the soft butter and a pinch of salt. Scrape the bowl well in between.
  3. Add one egg at a time mixing very well in between. Add the liquor and blend. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

10 comments on “Tart Bourdaloue

  1. Wow, you always do something very different. Never heard of this tart but I will make it. Can we make it with cranberries?
    Jose Corona

  2. lenny on said:

    I never had this tarte but it does look very good. Thank you and great site by the way!

  3. The Tart Bourdaloue is also one of my favorites and your cassis variation is a superb and beautiful one which I will try soon. Very elegant!

  4. Eddy this looks amazing! I’ve never heard of this tart before – but the colour of the pears is just stunning and I have no doubt that the flavours compliment each other beautifully. Next time I have some time to potter in the kitchen I’m going to make this. Pears are in season here at the moment and I have a freezer with bags of currants in it – so I have every reason to make it. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful dessert.

  5. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Thank you. Your chocolates look amazing!

  6. Hilary Adams on said:

    Yet another recipe that I can’t wait to try. Thank you, Chef Eddy!

  7. Yummy, When will you make these again chef eddy.

  8. Diana Wallace on said:

    Beautiful as always! Can’t wait to try!

  9. What a beautiful tarts, actually I have tried something similar, but not this exquisite. Could you please tell me where can I find this tart pens? They look so nice.
    Thanks Tamar

  10. valerie alexander on said:

    this is a beautiful tart and it seems easy to make. I look forward to making this dessert it think it would be great for a tea.

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