Brioche Tart with White Secret Sauce

As seen in this brioche tart video on PBS, Julia Child got all choked up and was lost for words in a brief awkward moment as she and Nancy Silverton, the guest baker and contributor of this recipe, were tasting the finished tart. Later she proclaimed that this was a dessert to cry over. “The best dessert I’ve ever eaten,” Julia said.

How can I resist making this dessert? The entirety of it so that I can reproduce, the best way I can, what Julia had experienced. This recipe consists of a long list of different components: the brioche dough, the creme fraiche custard filling, the sabayon, and the poached fruits in a caramel-wine syrup. Is this the best dessert I’ve ever eaten? Would I make this again? On special occasion, perhaps? I wonder how fellow bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie who’ve made this dessert rate this tart. I am curious whether this is also the best dessert in the realm of public opinion.

I can’t be happier making fruits-based desserts. I got some nectarines, black mission figs and blackberries, slightly cooked in the caramel-wine syrup. To me, the fruits make the brioche tart a more complete and balanced dessert.

The tricky part of the whole exercise was the amount of constant whisking (without stopping, which I failed miserably) in making the sabayon.

The stand mixer provided a welcome relief. Still the amount of whisking over a saucepan of boiling water (on a hot summer day) until the yolk mixture became voluminous and hot, turned this into a real tricep workout and an endurance test! A stand mixer is indispensable – from start (the dough) to finish (the sauce).

I’d also appreciate a more exact temperature guidance other than “almost too hot for you to stand when you dip your finger into the mixture.” After some digging, now I know that the correct temperature for the sabayon to set properly is supposed to be: between 165 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, I almost blew it.

If I can find ways to reduce the amount of sugar, especially in the white secret sauce, this dessert could be a perfect ten. I love the taste and texture of it. The brioche and the creme fraiche custard combination is a sure winner. But I can’t eat more of the tart because the sauce is super and, almost singularly and artificially, sweet. A minor distraction of an overall fantastic dessert, that can be served for breakfast or dinner.

A little cramped using a 9″ springform pan
Custard-filled brioche
White secret sauce is a sabayon made with a caramel-wine syrup


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  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Your picture looks absolutely perfect! Great job on tackling this one…your post made me think we missed out on this one since I sat this one out.:)

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I can't believe how golden and perfectly crimped your tart is! Also, the fruit looks heavenly! Great job!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Thank you for your kind comments. I did the crimping twice, still wasn't perfect!

  • Reply
    steph- whisk/spoon
    September 1, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    wow–your brioche did bake up beautifully! i've seen this episode of the show several times and am glad we finally made this one.

  • Reply
    Cher Rockwell
    September 2, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Beautifully done!
    This was one of the best I've ever had – I kind of almost understand the tears 🙂

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