Une cousine de la brioche – Tarte au sucre

In was in France for a few weeks and anytime I go home, I have a “blogger’s block”. I get caught in a different kind of life and dynamic and do not feel like cooking nor taking pictures of any kind. Now I am back and of course back to my routine. I still have to figure out why France has this effect on me, maybe because I grew up there and feel like I am not discovering anything new.

Anyway, I have been looking at this recipe for quite a long time and never really decided to make it. I didn’t like its name…anything with sugar on it, makes me cringe. It just make me think of the crunchy sound biting on a sugar cube. Then the picture of this tart looked really good…so it took a windy day (and me having a low energy level to go around the lake with the dog), to go ahead with this project.

I took this recipe from one of my favorite books called “La Cuisine de Bistrot” from Editions Tomawalk and since any recipe I tried from that book has always been delicious, I thought why not this one. Tarte au sucre is a specialty from Northern France.

I was trying to find what we call in French “sucre cristallisé” which is a sort of coarse and thick sugar whose grains don’t dissolve and remain crunchy even after baking, the grains are slightly bigger than regular sugar. I didn’t find it, so I used regular sugar instead. If you used coarse sugar as the recipe mentions, you will have a thicker and crunchier crust on top. In my recipe, the sugar dissolved and melted so the crust it formed is thin and not that crunchy.

This tart has the soft and moist texture of a brioche, with a thin layer of custard and topped with a crunchy layer of sugar. It definitely has a very interesting composition. I will make this again with a different kind of sugar.

Ingredients for 6

  • 1/2 lb (or 250 g) flour
  • 3.5 oz (or 100 g butter) + 1 tsp for the mold
  • 1 oz (or 30 g) powdered sugar
  • 4.4 oz (or 125 g) crystallized sugar
  • 0.35 oz (or 10 g) yeast
  • 7 tbs (or 10 cl) lukewarm milk
  • 7 tbs (or 10 cl) heavy cream
  • 1 egg + 3 yolks
  • a pinch of salt


Cut butter in small cubes. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Pour flour and powder sugar in a container. Dig a hole in the center and add milk (with yeast), then add an egg and salt. Mix well all ingredients until a you obtain an homogenous dough. Incorporate butter and knead the dough. Cover dough with a towel and let rise for 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven at 392F. Spread dough on a floured surface, then place in a mold (deep dish) previously buttered. Sprinkle the dough with half of the crystallised sugar.

Beet the yolks and cream until foamy, then pour the mixture on top of the tart. Sprinkle with the remaining of the crystallised sugar, then place in the oven and cook for 30 min.

Remove tart from the oven and let cool before serving. You can serve it with vanilla ice cream.