Pastry chef Germain Biotteau’s Strawberry-Pistachio Tart
Since Knife Pleat opened last year, Germain Biotteau and his voluptuary desserts have swiftly earned many admirers and Instagram moments. With stints over a 13-year period at Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, the Yauatcha Soho in London, and the former Spring in downtown Los Angeles, the French-born chef pâtissier is in his prime, demonstrating a deft and confident approach at Knife Pleat that has attracted the attention of prominent critics.
“At lunch or dinner, pastry chef Germain Biotteau’s desserts are formidable,” wrote Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Patricia Escárcega in a review. “Recently I finished my meal with two favorites: a creamy vanilla panna cotta topped with an apple-kiwi gelée and a pear sorbet embellished with candied pear slices and dollops of bourbon cream.”
Among Biotteau’s many intricate seasonal sweet courses at Knife Pleat, the strawberry pistachio tart is one that skilled baking enthusiasts can enjoy making at home. Perfect for summer or year-round, this tart is filled with a glossy pistachio frangipane, topped with juicy strawberries and finely chopped pistachios, and finished with a sweet berry glaze. It’s an eloquent tribute to the bounteous fresh produce in California, with all the Parisian refinement of a pair of new Roger Viviers.
In short, it’s perfect for South Coast Plaza.
Strawberry & Pistachio Tart
Makes one 9 ½ inch tart – approximately 6 servings
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
A/P flour 9 oz. (2 cups)
Powdered sugar 2 ½ oz. (3/4 cup)
Almond flour 1 oz. (1/3 cup)
Fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon
Vanilla bean, 1 (cut lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved)
Unsalted butter, cold 5 oz. (10 tablespoons) cut into ½” pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Granulated sugar 3.5 oz. (1/2 cup)
Unsalted butter, room temperature 2 oz. (¼ cup)
Pistachio flour 3.5 oz. (1 cup 2 tablespoons)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. of ripe strawberries, washed and well dried
High-quality smooth strawberry jam, about 1/4 cup, plus additional for brushing cut fruit
Roasted unsalted pistachio kernels, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
Powdered sugar, to finish (optional)
Chantilly cream (optional)
Procedure to make tart dough:
- Mix the flour, powder sugar, almond flour, salt, and vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low, until well combined (or by hand, in a large bowl using a pastry blender). Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and mix on low to medium-low, until the texture resembles large crumbs.
- With mixer on low, slowly add in the egg, and mix until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix. Gather dough into a ball, flatten into a 1” disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Have ready a 9 1/2” tart pan with removable bottom. Take tart dough out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, or until pliable enough to roll. Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper (at least 12” x 12” each) and roll to just under a ¼” thick. Peel off top sheet of paper, and gently flip dough into tart pan. Peel off second sheet of paper. Gently fit dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim off excess dough flush to top. Transfer tart pan to fridge (at least 1/2 hour) or freezer (at least 15 minutes) and chill until firm. Fifteen minutes before baking the tart shell, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Take out chilled tart pan and prick bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Line the dough with a sheet of parchment or foil that is taller than the sides, and fill with dry beans, uncooked raw rice, or pie weights to over ½ way up the sides of the pan. Place on a baking sheet, then transfer to the oven and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until edges are pale golden.
- Remove the parchment/foil and weights, then bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the pastry looks dry, but not browned. Remove baking sheet along with tart pan from the oven, then set tart pan on a cooling rack as you prepare the pistachio filling. Lower the heat to 350 degrees.
Procedure to make pistachio filling:
- Mix the butter and the sugar in the bowl stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed (or with a hand mixer, in a large bowl on medium speed), until mixture is well combined. Turn the speed up to medium high and continue mixing until light and fluffy, scraping down sides and bottom of mixing bowl as needed. Turn the speed down to low, add the pistachio flour, and mix until well combined. Slowly add in the eggs, stopping to scrape down the mixing bowl as needed. Continue to mix on medium low to medium until mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Pour pistachio filling into tart shell (does not need to be completely cool), smoothing top of filling if needed. Place tart pan back onto baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes until top of filling is lightly puffed, looks dry, and pale golden in color. Do not overbake. Remove baking sheet with tart pan from oven and place tart pan on a cooling rack until cool. The filling will deflate as it cools. Cover cooled tart with plastic wrap or foil, then refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Take tart out of fridge.
- Stem and cut the strawberries into halves and quarters.
- Lightly warm strawberry jam if too thick to spread.
- Spread a thin layer of ¼ cup jam over the top of tart. Arrange strawberry pieces on top of jam. Brush cut strawberries with additional jam, then sprinkle top of tart with chopped pistachios. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired and top with an optional dollop or quenelle of Chantilly cream.
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