I was recently in Lyon, France where I stopped in at Les Halles Bocuse, the French version of a food hall. As a result, now I have to totally rethink how I do my grocery shopping! Named after Lyon’s favourite son Chef Paul Bocuse, Les Halles is a lovely food hall full of restaurants and shops whereby you can sip champagne and suck back oysters for breakfast while picking up some specialty ingredients, be it a local Bresse chicken or a fancy cake for a weekend celebration.
And the people are just as welcoming as the food. At La Mere Richard, the owner has been making and serving cheeses with a smile for decades. At Sibilia Charcuterie Traiteur, a mecca for homespun sausages and pates, the 80-year old owner, Colette Sibilia, has been working here for 62 years and is a close friend of Paul Bocuse. She poses for a photo then snaps her fingers and suddenly there’s an impromptu indoor picnic before us; crusty country bread, great slabs of pate and bottles of Macon Villages Paul Bocuse Wine.
Finishing my “grocery run”, I pick up a box of perfect macarons from Seve Maitre Chocolatier Patissier, where another specialty is pralines entieres maison, the signature tarte you see at all the patisseries of Lyon.
Inspired, when I returned to the Chatelaine Kitchen we created this delicious, simple and authentic recipe. So now, you (and I) can make this pretty in pink taste of Lyon at home.
Chatelaine’s Lyonnaise Praline Tart
For the Praline Filling:
1 cup crushed pink pralines (if you can only find regular candied almonds, use a touch of red dye in the cream)
300 ml heavy cream (35%)
For the Pastry:
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
SIFT flour with sugar and salt. Add in butter. Mix together with your fingertips until well-blended and no big lumps remain. Add egg. Mix until the dough comes together then gather into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
PREHEAT oven to 350F
MAKE the praline filling by heating cream with the crushed pink pralines in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir slowly until the cream mixture thickens and large bubbles form to the point where you can see the bottom of the saucepan while stirring, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
REMOVE chilled pastry from fridge. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until it’s large enough to fill your tart tin at 1/8th of an inch thickness. Line tin with pastry and cut off the excess.
ADD pie weights or dried beans onto parchment lining the pastry and blind bake for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
FILL with praline cream and chill for at least half an hour to set. Top with additional chopped pralines if desired.
1 cup whole almonds, skin on
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
pink food colouring
LINE a baking tray with parchment. Spray with cooking oil.
In a saucepan over high heat, bring almonds, sugar and water to a boil. Add food colouring. Continue cooking and stir consistently until sugar begins to caramelize and crystallize around the almonds. Spread onto parchment and let cool.