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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

pierre herme's tarte au cafe.

I was so excited to come across this recipe when I read Paris Sweets by Dorie. I had a vanilla tart back in Paris last year also by Pierre which was phenomenal! And I mean out-of-this-world uber-delicious friggin' awesome! I gathered that this coffee tart was like a cousin of the vanilla tart, but definitely much easier to make. So coffee tart it is then!

First, there's the pate sucree, and then a layer of coffee ganache, ladyfingers soaked in espresso before finally being crowned off with a coffee cream. The real version had an additional component of a coffee glaze but the recipe didn't mention it and I couldn't find the recipe for that online either.

I intended to make a batch of Dorie's sweet tart dough, but I ran out of icing sugar. Just how is that possible? Even so, I continued with my original plan and while the final result was passable, some of that crumbly texture was sacrificed.

You know what's so great about this tart? There's probably only 80g of sugar in total, original 9-10 inch size. But of course, that's excluding the white chocolate in the ganache.

The coffee in the cream is really strong and with very little sugar, I was hankering for something sweet after 2 to 3 bites. I actually ransacked my fridge for chocolate chips and maltesers. I'm sorry. That should be a crime.

That's why the coffee ganache is so important. It's more than just a layer of protection for the crust to prevent it from becoming soggy because of the espresso, it also adds that sweetness that you will definitely want. Speaking of espresso, I went a little crazy with soaking the ladyfingers in it and I could see little puddles of coffee pooling around the sides of the tart. Luckily for me, the tart shell didn't soggify. Phew! 

And I over-whipped the coffee cream on my first try. Garrgh! I need more practice. I kept whipping the mixture but it didn't seem to lighten up even after a 4 to 5 minutes so I kept going and going... until it curdled. I had to make a new batch, but this time I didn't chill it as long. Maybe 6 hours? The coffee cream wasn't as stiff as my first try and it lightened up much quicker. Rather than risk more curdled cream, I didn't carry on whipping it to stiff, pipe-able peaks and spooned it into molds instead. Which explains the dome versus the disc shape made by others.

I managed to save the first curdled batch somehow and put them into adorable espresso cups. My father polished one off, despite staying away from sweets. Or at least, he tried to.

Tarte au Cafe
makes one 9-10 inch tart

1 9-10 inch sweet tart shell, fully baked

Coffee Cream:
1 1/2 tsp gelatine
30 ml cold water
500g heavy cream
20g sugar
12g ground espresso coffee

Sprinkle the gelatine over the cold water and let it stand for 5 minutes.
Dissolve it in a microwave for about 15 seconds.
Bring the cream to the boil with the ground espresso, then let it stand for a minute or so before straining it through a cheese cloth to get rid of the residue.
Stir in the sugar and gelatine mixture.
Refrigerate it for at least 6 hrs, then whip it until soft peaks form.

Coffee Ganache:
300g white chocolate, preferably valrhona ivoire
215g heavy cream
20g ground espresso

Heat the cream up with the ground coffee.
Strain it and add to the white chocolate. Stir until it is fully incorporated.

To Assemble:
10-12 ladyfingers, split lengthwise
1/2 cup brewed espresso, cooled

Fill the tart up with the ganache, then line the top with the ladyfingers.
Soak them with the brewed espresso.
Lastly, top the tart with the coffee cream.

The tart can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.


  1. This sounds heavenly!

    I'd like to invite you to share this recipe on my weekly link-up, Sweet Tooth Friday. I hope to see you there. http://alli-n-son.com/2011/05/05/homemade-coffee-creamer/

  2. This looks so good! I'll have to get everything for it next time I go shopping!

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  4. I don't remember the tarte cafe looking like that. But it is the absolute genius. It's Herme at the top of his game.

    1. You're right, it's not supposed to look like that. I sort of reinvented the appearance for convenience:)