Tarte Tropézienne

Tarte Tropézienne

Servings 6


for the cake

  • 1 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 1/2 tbsp whole milk warmed to 110°F-115°F
  • 1 c all-purpose flour plus more as needed and for dusting
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature and cut into tablespoon-size slices

for the custard

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg for glazing
  • pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes for topping


To create the cake

  1. In a small bowl, add the dry yeast, then follow with the warmed milk. Make sure the milk is exactly the right temperature as this is what will activate the yeast. Do not stir; let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on low speed with a paddle attachment. Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of flour and sugar using a spatula (the yeast mixture may or may not look bubbly/frothy). Turn the mixer on to low speed and mix just until the yeast is mixed in.
  3. Add in the egg, salt, and vanilla. Continue mixing on medium speed for 5 to 8 minutes, stopping every once in awhile to scrape the batter off the sides of the bowl. Drop in the butter slices, one piece at a time, and raise the speed of the mixer to medium-high speed. Continue mixing until the dough comes together, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Use your spatula to incorporated any unmixed butter into the dough better. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Roll the dough into the flour and flatten it out into a disc shape. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover the bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap. Then turn on your oven's warm/hold setting on for 30 seconds. Turn off the oven and then place the bowl in the oven for its first rising phase; about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

To create the custard

  1. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the milk begins to simmer. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Slowly stream in 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously as you do. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk, then whisk this mixture continuously over medium-low heat until it thickens into a pudding-like consistency.

  2. Pour the custard into a bowl, then add the vanilla extract; stir to combine. Cover the custard with a sheet of plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly onto the custard. Refrigerate the custard until chilled and ready to use.

Back to the dough

  1. After the dough has finished rising, take off the plastic wrap lift up the dough from each of its sides to slightly stretch it out. Again, place back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. This time, place the dough in the freezer to stop the dough's development; freeze for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the dough to the fridge to chill for an hour.
  2. Place your dough onto a floured surface and roll out the dough until it's 5 to 6 inches wide in diameter. Place this dough circle on a baking sheet fitted with a piece of parchment paper. Cover loosely with a sheet of plastic wrap. Turn on the oven's warm/hold setting for 30 seconds before turning the oven off and placing the baking sheet in the oven for the dough to rise; about 1 hour.
  3. Take the dough out of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Create an egg wash by adding a splash of water to a small bowl containing 1 egg. Beat the water and egg together before brushing this egg wash onto the dough. Add the crushed sugar to the top. Place the dough in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top and edges of the cake are a deep golden brown. Transfer the cake to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.

To assemble

  1. Once the cake is cool, finish your custard. Whip the heavy cream on high speed until stiff peaks form. User a rubber spatula to fold the whipped cream into the custard until the custard is loosened up a bit. The custard should be creamy, but should not fall off your spatula easily.
  2. Use a sharp, serrated knife to horizontally cut into the cake and split it into two layers. Cut the cake so that the bottom layer is thicker than the top layer.
  3. Use a spatula or a pastry bag to apply the custard onto the bottom layer of cake. Gently press the top layer onto the filling. Refrigerate until cool and ready to serve.