The Good Life France

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My French Life: In the cuisine with BraveTart

Pear Tart

When I came to France I didn’t have a grand ambition to learn to cook. To be honest I never really thought much about it but I did know that I needed to eat more healthily than I had in London, living on take-aways and heated up packet food.

It became quite apparent that I’d need to learn to cook almost immediately. There are no shops in this village of mine and packet food that I was used just isn’t so readily available here and it’s very expensive.

So I started to learn to cook. My friends and neighbours here have been wonderful and helped me along and I am doing quite well though a bit slower than I imagined – there’s a lot to take in. Also when you’re studying French cuisine, you learn early on this is not fast food we’re talking about.

You have to take your time, enjoy the process and work through it for as long as it takes – not as long as you’ve got.

A short while ago, the Other Half (OH) announced that he wanted to learn to cook as well. I can’t tell you how surprised I was. Our first lesson together was to cook a Tarte Bourdaloue.

This is a very famous pear tart in  France – and I am a big fan of pear tarts.

Tarte Bourdaloue is a great classic of French pâtisserie. It was created by a famous chef named Coquelin in 1909 and named after the street where his bakery was located, Rue Bourdaloue in Paris’ 9th arondissement.

We had the recipe and decided that as it was the OH’s first time, he would do the measuring, mixing, pouring etc. He’s a little bit impatient and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned with French cuisine – read the recipe as many times as you need to make sure you understand it and don’t miss anything. So, after we started again following a measuring disaster due to him not reading the recipe properly, we were on our way.

It isn’t that complicated but for a first timer it’s not that easy either. You have to infuse the pears overnight in lemon juice with a vanilla pod. You have to make pastry and you have to make almond cream for the filling. I’d been nervous about attempting this one but to my utter amazement the OH breezed through it.

His pastry was perfect – half way through making it he said “my grandmother was a pastry cook, it’s all coming back to me, helping her when I was a kid.. used to love it”. Almond cream – a doddle “like mixing cement”.

When it was baking in the oven, the whole house was filled with the scent of pear tart. When it came to eating it – you could have knocked me down with a feather… it was delicious.

I may hang up my apron as far as cakes are concerned – it seems BraveTart is a pear tart natural!

A bientôt

Janine

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