Tarte au Sucre [Sugar tart]

For the past 3 days I have been hooked to my computer.

As a junkie is to his drug of choice.

I have discovered the wonderful world of my Netflix “Watch instantly” option.

I have discovered MadMan.

I’m now an official Draper fan.

I cannot get enough of all those chain-smoking characters.

I watched season 1 and 2 and some of 3 in one sitting.

Tom was worried that my eyes were going to fall off.

I was mesmerized with the set, the story line and the fact that I need to change my office chair to something a lot more comfortable.

Because when my butt officially fell asleep between season 2 and 3, I realized that I needed a break.

So I baked.

I wanted something easy but a bit challenging.

My do this recipe pile came to the rescue with this little number.

I have been meaning to do this recipe since forever.  It caught my attention because I love bread and sweet bread is my downfall.

According to a little Google search, the “Tarte au Sucre” is from the north region of France – not to be confused with one that Canada seems to like to make as well with maple syrup.  This version it’s a light buttery brioche (without all that work) topped with caramelized sugar – in this case cassonade, which is very similar to what you may know as raw sugar or turbinado sugar – but you can use light brown sugar instead.

I was calling my name.

Plus, I have promised myself to make more of something using the ingredients in baking that I fear most – yeast.

This time around, it all worked.

The only thing I can tell you is that do not freak out, as I did, when you pour the topping and on it … and think – my god, it’s going to have scramble eggs on top!  Its not, somehow it works and instead you get this thin light sweet topping – which almost taste like a cream.

All good stuff in our house.

So good that the whole thing lasted a couple of hours, since Tom and I keep finding excuses to go by the kitchen and cut a piece.  Slowly but surely it was gone before we knew it.  Which means this will be a repeat offender.


For the crust: 

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter, cut in small pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt 

For the topping: 

  • ¾ cup raw sugar (or use light brown sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Heat the milk in the microvawe until it is just warm to the touch (about 20 seconds). Remove from the heat and stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar until completely dissolved.

Place the flour in a mixing bowl and make a large well in the center of the flour. Into the well, add the egg, sugar, butter, salt and the milk. Roll up your sleeves, get a sturdy wooden spoon and start mixing. This mixes into a stiff dough and requires a strong arm to ensure that all is well blended.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave the bowl in a warm place to rise. Let rise until it is double in volume. Depending on how warm it is and on how active your yeast is, this could take from one to three hours.  Mine took about an hour and half. 

TIP: If you don’t have a warm spot in your kitchen, then turn your oven to broil to get warmed up fast – about 1 to 2 minute will do (do this while you are making the dough) turn it off and use this as your warm place for your dough to rise – works every time.  If you don’t have a broil setting, warming it up at 200 degrees works as well too.

Once the dough has risen, use your fingertips to fit it in the bottom of a 10 inch round non-stick cake pan or pie/tart tin. Turn the oven on to 400° F and let the dough rise again for 15 minutes while the oven is warming.

Sprinkle the dough evenly with the raw sugar. Whisk the two eggs and then whisk in the heavy cream just until mixed. Pour this on top of the sugar topped dough. Cut the final two tablespoons of butter into about twenty tiny pieces and place these evenly atop the pie.

Bake at 400° F for 25 minutes. 

Serve your tart warm. Some people might like to dress it up a bit more with some fresh fruit topping, ice cream or whipped cream. We liked it as is - a not too sweet, not too rich dessert.

The only thing I would change up is the topping.  I found a “French” version of this recipe and the only difference was they added all the eggs to the brioche, and the topping was made with crème fraiche and cassonade.

Something to think about next time.