Recipe of the month: The Mirabelle Tart From Lorraine
Our chef Sebastien Baud shares once again one of his favourite recipe. This month, we continue our trip in Lorraine, let’s discover the Mirabelle Tart. Bon appétit !
Hello everyone, we are very happy to see you again for a new recipe. This month we are staying in Lorraine with another dessert recipe, the Mirabelle tart.
The Mirabelle comes from the plum family, it is a yellow, red-flecked fruit which has become a symbol of Lorraine. It is an excellent fresh fruit, with a more delicate taste than a simple plum. It is best enjoyed when fully ripe, from mid-August to mid-September. Purists call Mirabelles from other regions “plums”, and not Mirabelles. Mirabelles are also used to make a type of brandy: “the Mirabelle”. There is another variety of plums that only grows in Lorraine, the “quetsche”, which is oblong-shaped, with a deep blue-purple color and a firm, green flesh, which is very flavorful and slightly tangy.
The Mirabelle is the fruit of the Mirabellier, a variety of plum tree. In 1996, the Mirabelle from Lorraine was the first fruit to receive the French label “Protected Geographic Indication” (“Indication Géographique Protégée”, IGP). The Red Label guarantees the “Mirabelle de Lorraine”’s origin and unique characteristics. Lorraine provides approximately 80% of the world’s production, and 250 producers are officially listed today. Mirabelles are grown in orchards in the Saintois, Côtes de Meuse and Côtes de Moselle areas (on limestone soils). In Lorraine, an average of 15,000 tons of Mirabelles are harvested every year. There is a Mirabelle museum in Rozelieure.
There are two main varieties of Mirabelles: the Mirabelle from Metz and the Mirabelle from Nancy.
Metz Mirabelle: it is a small, thin-skinned plum, which turns a bright yellow-orange in the sun, and sometimes take on a yellow-green hue in the shade. They have a slight bloom.
Nancy Mirabelle: It is bigger than the Metz variety, with a yellow-orange or red-orange color. It often shows small red flecks with a small brownish center, and a fragile bloom. Full maturity is reached by mid-August.
Already in the 16th century, the Mirabelle was presented as a local specialty: legend has it that King Charles the 9th and his mother, Catherine de Medici, upon a visit to Metz, received “Mirabelles preserved in sugar, a specialty from the Metz country”. Throughout its five-century history, Lorraine has shaped the Mirabelle tree in its image. The trees we see today look very much like those King René brought back from the crusades. Over the course of centuries, Mirabelle trees have slowly been absorbed into the Lorraine landscape. They have adapted to the unique characteristics of the soil and climate. Today, “mirabellier” trees are a part of the cultural and historic legacy of Lorraine.
And now the recipe, get ready to bake!
• 250 grams flour
• 150 grams butter
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 pinch of salt
• 50 ml water
• 20 g sugar
• 800 grams Mirabelle halves
• 2 whole star anise
• 2 crushed cinnamon sticks
• 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
• 10 ml Mirabelle brandy (if available)
• One small chunk of butter
• 1 egg
• 75 grams sugar
• 25 grams melted butter
• 500 grams Mirabelles, pitted
Instructions for the short pastry
Make a well with the flour, add the butter in the center and mix together. Add the egg yolks, the pinch of salt and the sugar. Knead again while adding the water, until the dough forms a ball. Sprinkle a little flour on top and set aside in the refrigerator for an hour.
Instruction for the mirabelle sauce
Melt the butter in a skillet and add the Mirabelle halves. Add the spices and mix carefully. When the Mirabelles are cooked (after about 15 minutes), set aside in a mixing bowl. You can flambé this sauce with 1 tablespoon of Mirabelle brandy if you wish.
Baking and presentation
Preheat your oven to 180°C or 350°F
Line a tart pan with the short pastry. Spread a thin layer of Mirabelle sauce and add the remaining pitted Mirabelles. Melt the butter and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg and sugar together until it turns pale yellow/white. Add the melted butter. Glaze the tart with this mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.
On these words by Brillat-Savarin (1755 - 1826), I wish you a bon appétit, and look forward to seeing you next month for another recipe. Merci!
«Gourmandise is an act of our judgement, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality.»