Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pear Bourdaloue

"There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 It has been a very busy two weeks. My posts have been slow, even thought I have been baking. We had a "pot-Luck" at work and this is what I baked. have my   Something french and fancy :), and delicious.

A bourdaloue is a type of a chamberpot, supposedly named for Louis Bourdaloue, a famous 17th century priest; the story goes that his sermons were so long that listeners would need to bring along a chamberpot to get through them. As delightfully juvenile as this story is, the origins of the bourdaloue are probably much more mundane. Numerous examples of antique bourdaloues can be seen on display in museums, and it is also possible to buy modern versions, for people who might have need of a chamberpot.
The celebrated pâtissier Coquelin bought La Pâtisserie Bourdaloue (which is still up and baking on the rue Bourdaloue) in 1909, and created, among other things, this famous pear 

I translated this from a french webby: ( poorly)
"The pie Bourdaloue carries the name of the street which saw it being born. By 1850, becomes established street Bourdaloue, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the confectioner Fasquelle or Lesserteur, opinions divergent. The first creates a cake composed of powder of hazelnut, sugar, yolks, flour and egg whites taken up in snow which, once cooks in cylindrical moulds, is cut and is stuffed with confectioner's custard flavoured in Kirschwasser, before being frozen in chocolate. The recipe of Lesserteur is closer to the one that we know: a mixture of powder of almond, sugar, yellow of egg, starch and whites taken up in snow cooks in the oven and finally « frozen curacao » .L' forefather of the actual pie find her origin in the recipe mentioned in The big book of the kitchen of Montagné and Rooms of 1929: a mould with side trimmed with sweet paste filled in 2/3 of the frangipane in macaroons on which are deposited fruits. The version incorporating pears that will be later favoured. They speak even about Pears « in Bourdaloue » .Cette speciality is so accomplished:"


Pear Bourdaloue

Total time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling time

Servings: 12 to 16

Note: Adapted from Nicole's Gourmet Foods in South Pasadena

Tart shell

1 2/3 cup (7.1 ounces) flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled butter, cut into one-half-inch cubes

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons ice water

1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla. Work the egg mixture into the flour mixture just until it resembles cornmeal. Stir in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough holds together.

3. Form the dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it out until it is just over 13 inches in diameter. Fit the dough into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the dough so it is flat with the top of the tart pan, then line and fill the shell with pie weights or beans.

5. Blind bake the tart shell until set, about 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and set the shell on a rack to cool.

Poached pears

1 quart water

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 pears, preferably Bartlett, peeled and halved lengthwise

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to poaching temperature (not quite a simmer) and poach the pears just until tender (a knife should pierce easily). Remove the pears from the poaching liquid and cool completely. Core the cooled pear halves and slice each half lengthwise into 6 slices.

Filling and assembly

2 tablespoons chilled butter

2/3 cup almond meal or flour

2 1/3 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup (2.1 ounces) flour

Tart shell

Poached pears

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, place the butter and almond meal. Set aside. (Do not worry about mixing them together.)

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla bean. Bring the milk just to a simmer over high heat, then remove from heat and discard the bean pod.

3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour. Whisk in about a cup of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs, then whisk in the remaining milk until combined. Whisk the mixture over medium heat just until it thickens. Immediately remove from heat, pour the mixture over the butter and almond meal and whisk.

4. Spread the filling in the tart shell and top with the sliced pears (you may not use all of the pears; we used about three-fourths of the slices). Bake the tart until the custard is lightly browned and set, about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Each of 16 servings: 253 calories; 5 grams protein; 30 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 66 mg. cholesterol; 15 grams sugar; 100 mg. sodium.


I hope to be posting more soon :)



  1. Funny how a single word can have such different meanings! The tart sounds delicious, I LOVE poached pears.

  2. There's a version of this that's made with Frangipane instead of the batter you list. I'll try to get you a copy of it. Send me your e-mail. Trust me. WORTH IT. (probably my single favorite tart. I'd eat that forever if allowed)