Tarte au sucre, sugar tart, is a speciality of the far north of France. Sugar beet is grown in abundance in the Pas de Calais region where I live, and a fair few of the local traditional recipes feauture it – and not just in cakes, it’s used in stews too like Carbonarde Flamande. You’ll find sugar cakes for sale in some of the artisan bakeries in the Hauts-de-France and it’s a popular dish to make at home. I asked my neighbour Claudette how to make it. “Ah tarte au chuc” she said. She has a ch’ti accent, the local patois. ‘Good for breakfast, lunch or supper, any time‘. Well I’m not sure I’d eat it for breakfast – but any other time, give me a slice of this fluffy sugar pie and I’m in cake heaven!
How to make sugar pie
Make a brioche dough:
320 g T45b flour (plain flour/all purpose flour)
50g white icing sugar
70g salted butter
5g bakers yeast
30g salted butter
40g brown sugar
Make the brioche:
Melt the butter for 30 seconds in the microwave. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, eggs, milk, melted butter and finally the yeast. If you’re doing this in a mixer knead on medium speed for 10 minutes. Or knead by hand to form a dough. Put in a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave to rise at room temperature for 1hr 30m.
Line the bottom of a large tart tin with greased/parchment paper. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it in the center of the parchment paper (do not degas it). Spread the dough so that it covers the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with a clean cloth and leave to rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Press the dough with your finger to make holes in it. place small knobs of butter in some of the holes.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake in a preheated over at 180°C for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Delicious warm – or cold!
More delicious cake recipes
French almond cake, recipe by Lenôtre of Paris
Decadent and delicious brown sugar French toast!