One can hardly think of a greater pleasure in life than that of throwing a nice cream tart at your worst enemy. Yet some of these tarts deserve to be consumed and savored instead. Marrying simplicity and excellence is a difficult task, yet it is without a doubt the hallmark of many a successful dessert. Benoît Castel offers his own version of the Cream Tart in his pâtisserie Liberté, and the Cake Justice tribunal went on site to investigate. We carry out the usual inspections, and disclose all the details.
The Cream Tart by Benoît Castel is composed simply of a sweet crust topped with a crème pâtissière (pastry cream), then covered with a vanilla Chantilly (whipped cream). A pastry square in the shape of a petit beurre cookie, Benoît Castel’s original signature, decorates the whole.
This tart’s diameter stands just below 75 mm and its cream mound culminates at a height of 48 mm. The specimen we purchased weights 86 grams and costs 3.50 euros.
The Chantilly cream on the surface is insolent with freshness and offers a very slightly fermented taste. It is not very sweet and has a discrete vanilla flavor, which is pleasant as it showcases the quality of the product and does not hide its flavors. This Chantilly is undoubtedly the star of this tart, and its taste remains the longest on the taste buds. Beneath these clouds of Chantilly cream, we discover an unctuous heart of pastry cream, spread in generous quantities. Very well made, it has a freshness which echoes that of the Chantilly cream, and possesses a perfectly smooth texture. Its compactness complements perfectly the airiness of the Chantilly, whose touch of acidity combines wonderfully with its rich smoothness. Finally, the sweet short crust pastry is crunchy enough to provide the ensemble with a nice play of texture, while being crumbly enough that it does not contrast too violently with the cream toppings which we sink our teeth into without the hint of an effort. The choc of the crust against the palate thus finds itself perfectly controlled. The crust offers/ degage a delicious buttery flavor, which emanates generously as each morsel melts in the mouth.
Accuse us of having simple tastes, but we will not shy away from saying it: this Cream Tart by Benoît Castel is a success. Admittedly, it does not constitute a surprising dessert – but it is an excellent signature product for this pastry chef. It is clear that this tart has been carefully thought-out and executed: the ingredients used appear to be excellent and the transitions between flavors and textures are executed with masterfully. No, we will decidedly not be throwing this at anyone. But we wouldn’t mind having seconds.
Rating: 4/5 Excellent
39 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France