Tarte Tropézienne aka Laskiaispulla – Sweet bun for Shrove Tuesday

What’s common with Finnish winter and Saint-Tropez? It’s Tarte Tropézienne. I know it does not make sense. When I first saw that giant brioche filled with French pastry cream and berries I could not help but thinking of our Finnish Laskiaspulla, a sweet briochelike bun.

In Finland we bake sweet buns filled with almond paste and whipped cream to celebrate something we call mid-winter sliding festival called “Laskiainen” in Finnish. This year Laskiais Tuesday was 21st of February. Traditionally in Finland, Shrove Tuesday or “Laskiainen” is the day when kids go out to play with their sled or “pulkka” to slide on snowy downhill. Going to slide on the hill is what we call “pulkkamäki”.

The original purpose of Shrove Tuesday, Laskiainen, was to get ready for fasting before Eastern, the last festive day to eat heavy and prepare for Lent. Besides laskiaispulla there’s pea soup (called “hernekeitto” in Finnish) eaten too on Laskiainen. I dare to say that Laskiainen has unreligious meaning for most of the Finns, therefore mid-winter sliding festival works well as a name of this winter feast.

Back to the giant Brioche….According to the traditional recipe, a Tropézienne is prepared with brioche, French pastry cream (crème patissière) and butter cream. The ingredients which compose this pastry are simple: eggs, flour, powdered milk and butter. A modern recipe of the Tarte Tropézienne includes berries in the pastry cream which composes the cake.

Look at the video clip: At Gérard’s Café preparing of genuine Tarte Tropézienne

It took me to come to Dubai to get to know this delicatesse of French Riviera. I went to make Tarte Tropézienne to Gerard’s Cafe beside Burj Khalifa on January with Saba Wahid and Monsieur Gérard. I had no idea what kind of cake it is, but wanted to know how to make it. I first got to know Gérard’s Cafe at Jumeirah, when I got a tip that we have a real French patisserie around corner near my house. They are baking authentic Galette des Rois, puff pastry with almond paste filling. Traditionally, the Galette Des Rois is made to celebrate Epiphany, which falls on the 6th of January, twelve days after Christmas. They say that the cake is eaten in celebration of the arrival of the three kings who have traveled from afar with gifts for the newborn baby. In practice, people eat galette throughout January. Little I knew about that relation to religious tradition, I wanted to taste it for rather unreligious reasons and was so late on March when I visited Gerard’s Cafe. They were kind enough to make it for me, even out of season, and yes I loved it, oven fresh still warm when I picked the cake up….. Oups back to Tarte Tropézienne.

Here I’m sharing with you the Tropézienne recipe of Chef Gérard. He said it definitely needs to be baked with fresh yeast, I dared to use dry one and got a brioche which is exactly as Finnish sweet bun, Laskiaispulla. Hence the round shape and the filling being softer than pastry cream. Custard for a Tropézienne needs to be thick. If you like to challenge yourself, here’s the link to homemade custard recipe, just make it very very thick.

Tarte Tropézienne recipe a la Gérard’s Café

For the brioche pastry:
500 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
75 g sugar
25 g milk powder
25 g fresh yeast (11 g dry yeast)
125 g softened butter
125 ml water
4-5 eggs
Stone sugar for decoration
Almond flakes for decoration
Icing sugar for dusting
For the cream:
Sugar syrup (boil five parts of water and two parts of sugar, use after its cool. Use few drops of lemon or orange juice for flavor)
Custard cream (mix custard powder according to directions on tin, double the powder to get thick consistency)
Whipping cream without sugar

Step 1
Mix flour, salt, sugar, milk powder. Add fresh yeast and butter. Add the water and three of the eggs, beaten, and mix in a food processor with pastry hook for 15-20 minutes until elastic and soft. Let the dough rest for an hour, in a bowl covered with a napkin, to allow the pastry dough to rise.

Step 2
On floured surface, cut the dough in half and shape into balls. Let it rest again for 15 minutes. (Or you can freeze one of the halves to make another tarte or brioche).

Step 3
On a flat surface roll the dough to 1 cm thick flat round shape. Place on a baking tray and leave to rise for another hour or when it’s 2,5 cm (1 inch) thick. Once dough has risen, gently use a pastry brush and spread the top of the risen dough with beaten egg, taking care not to press too hard. Sprinkle with stone sugar (or with regular sugar) and almond flakes. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Step 4
Let the baked brioche cool and slice into half horizontally (to fill with cream) with serrated knife. Spread sugar syrup on the inside of lower half.

Step 5
Mix equal quantity of custard cream (prepared with custard powder) and whipped cream until you get light yellow cream. Spread with spatula over the lower half of brioche, leaving a dome in the middle.
Punch the berries in the pastry cream and replace the top layer of brioche over and chill. Before serving decorate with icing sugar.


Be My Valentine – Marianne Cake with Chocolate, Peppermint candies and Strawberries

Be My Valentine! It’s time for red and time for hearts. In Finland we call it modestly Friends Day, Ystävänpäivä. It’s a day to remember your friends, not only your loved one.

I got invitation from Very Good Recipes to be one of the ten judges in Be My Valentine Challenge. I am so excited to see what entries we get. Check the challenge website and send your recipe with photo. The condition is to have red in your recipe.
Yalla! Let’s Go!

Be My Valentine Challenge
on Very Good Recipes

I wanted to make a special Finnish cheese cake to celebrate Valentines day. My cake is a fake Marianne cake, I have cheated with candies. Errr.. Mari what, you might think. The original recipe is definitely from Finland, it calls for candy named Marianne. This “old” Finnish sweet is chocolate candy covered with peppermint, made by Fazer Bakeries & Confectionery founded 1891. Fazer is basically synonym for chocolate in Finland. I am not crazy about chocolate, but their chocolate is worth of trying. Available in Dubai Tax Free by the way, same as Marianne candies. Hah…this is not paid ad, but my honest opinion. Try Fazer Milk chocolate, called Fazer Blue and let me know your opinion.

Do you have candy canes left over from your Christmas tree decoration, here’s idea where to crush them. I have been planning to try this Marianne cake ever since I pumped in to the recipe in Fazer website. When I saw candy canes in my supermarket I knew instantly where to use them. I made substitude of Marianne candy crush from scratch, with candy canes and dark chocolate by giving them a couple of spins with coffee /spice grinder. It was just perfect result, candy became almost powder, so did dark chocolate, but it worked really well in this recipe.

Happy Valentine! Hyvää Ystävänpäivää!

Marianne Cake – with Strawberry, Chocolate and Peppermint candies

200 g chocolate cookies (I used Oreo without filling)
75 g butter or margarine

300 ml whipping cream
200 g cream cheese (like Philadelphia)
Red food coloring (optional)
5 sheets of gelatin (= 2 table spoon of Davis Gelatin, New Zealand)
100 ml water
75 g dark chocolate
60 g peppermint candies, I used 4 small candy canes (optional)
(Or 120 g Marianne crush)

Strawberry jelly cover:
4 sheets of gelatin (1 – 1 1/4 table spoon of Davis Gelatin)
400 g strawberries swirled with blender to liquid consistency
70 g sugar (or more if you like sweet)
100 ml water or red juice
Red food coloring (optional)

1. Cover the bottom of 24 cm spring form pan with baking paper and wipe insides with oil or cover with fling foil, cake will come out smoothly after it’s settled.
2. Crush chocolate cookies with spin roll or mixer. Smelt the butter and add to crushed cookies, pulse couple of times until mixed well. Press the cookie butter mixture on the bottom of cake pan
3. Whip the cream until soft peaks forms add some powder sugar for your taste.
4. Stir cream cheese (and add 1 ts of red food coloring) and add to whipped cream and vanilla.
5. Boil the 100 ml water and add/sprinkle gelatin, mix well, make sure gelatin is all dissolved and add gelatin liquid to cream-cheese mixture. (I added it through fine strainer)
6. Pour over the cookie mix and let settle in fridge (abt. 3 hours)

7. Make the strawberry jelly cover: Swirl strawberries and sugar with blender to liquid consistency. Heat 100 ml of water/juice and add 1 generous table spoon of gelatin, mix well. And add to smooth strawberry mix. (Note from amateur chef, do not use blender to mix gelatin to strawberry mixture, it makes bubbles, see photo of top layer, not exactly best outlook, does not spoil the taste though)
Pour over the cheesecake which is already settled in fridge. Let stand in fridge until cover layer is settled, about 2-3 hours

8. Remove cake from spring form cake pan gently on to a serving plate and decorate.

Tip: Use cookie cutter as template to cut shapes. I pressed heart shape cookie cutter in the cake and cut it with knife.

Valentine Hearts by Very Good Recipes