There's a marvelous story about how Tarte Tropezienne came about as told by Dorie Greenspan. It's worth the read and I encourage you to take a look. However, I don't use her recipe. I use my Sixty Second Brioche which goes together so much faster without burning out the motor of your mixer.
This is a great dessert anytime, but especially for Valentine's Day. It's light and exquisite with a creamy filling enclosing fresh rasperries with a special crunch from pearl sugar. Also called Swedish Pearl Sugar, these snow-white nuggets don't melt when baked and are a must-have for this dessert. If you can't find them locally, they can be found on the internet or from King Arthur Flour. Don't confuse these with Belgium Pearl Sugar which features much larger pearls.
The usual filling for the Tarte Tropezienne is pastry cream. I love pastry cream, but I think it is too heavy for this dessert. So I choose to use a light mascarpone filling and raspberries as well as washing the layers with rum. Any complimentary liquor can be used, I just like the flavor of dark rum.
Mascarpone cheese is the Italian version of cream cheese but has a sharper edge to it. It is used in Tiramasu as well as other desserts. While a lot of stores feature this for a hefty price, Trader Joe's has an 8-ounce tub that is much more reasonable.
The dessert can be put together the day before if desired. Just remember to remove it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. It cuts beautifully.
Please note the filling for this Tarte Tropezienne has raw egg yolks in it and I haven't found a way to replace it and retain the texture and taste of the filling.
Brioche for Tarte Tropezienne
1 recipe brioche, refrigerated
Spray the bottom and sides of a 10x2 inch round cake pan. Set aside.
Flour the work surface. Remove the dough from the container and place it on the floured surface. Flour the top lightly. Press down on the dough to deflate it. Shape it into a ball, flatten the ball and roll it into a 10" round.
Place it in the prepared pan and press it out to the edges.
It may spring back slightly and that is fine.
Cover it and allow it to rise for 1 hour. You do not want this to double. It should just get puffy.
Shortly before it has finished rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Just before it goes into the oven, brush the top of the brioche with the beaten egg.
Wait a few minutes and brush it again. Cover the top completely with the pearl sugar.
Press the sugar down lightly.
Bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
Cool for about 10 minutes and turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. When it has cooled completely, it may be wrapped in foil and frozen up to a couple of months. Thaw on a rack before assembling.
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin
1 tablespoon water
⅔ cup cream
1 cup +3 tablespoons powdered sugar (150 grams or 5 ⅓ ounces)
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup mascarpone cheese (170 grams 6 ounces)
Dissolve the gelatin in cold water.
Beat the cream until fairly stiff. Remove it to another bowl.
Without cleaning the mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla.
Beat until very, very light and fluffy – about 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the mascarpone by thirds.
Liquefy the gelatin in the microwave for about 5 to 8 seconds. With the machine running, pour the gelatin in between the edge of the bowl and the beater as much as possible. Mix in completely.
Fold in the whipped cream.
Chill for several hours until set.
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup dark rum
Mix together. Set aside.
Assembly of Tarte Tropezienne
Baked Brioche, thawed if necessary
6 to 8 ounces fresh raspberries
Slice the brioche horizontally with a bit more on the bottom than on the top. I make a shallow cut around the edges.
Then I turn the knife into the center of the layer to finish slicing as opposed to going straight across. I find I have more control over it this way.
Brush the bottom with half of the soaking syrup.
Spread about ½ of the mascarpone filling over the brioche to within about ½ inch from the edge.
Arrange the raspberries so they cover the filling to within a half-inch of the filling.
Spread the remainder of the mascarpone on top of the raspberries.
Turn the top of the Brioche over carefully so the sugar isn't dislodged and brush with the remaining soaking syrup.
Place, right side up, on top of the mascarpone.
Press down on the top until the filling comes to the edge all the way around. Clean off any that might have extended past the edge.
Chill for several hours or overnight.
To Serve: cut into 10 to 12 pieces.