It's rare to find a fancy-restaurant-caliber dessert at a small bakery, but Bien Cuit in Brooklyn's Boerum Hill is producing a marvelous chocolate-pistachio tart with brandied cherries. CHOW.com Contributing Editor Alex Van Buren filed the following report.
This week we’re at Bien Cuit, a three-month-old bakery in Boerum Hill with amazing tarts.
Baker Zachary Golper and his wife Kate Wheatcroft recently moved here from Philadelphia. Zachary handled pastries at Le Bec Fin, a famous French restaurant. He’s also made bread in rural Oregon, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Provence, where he was taught how to make a great tart. (As he says, “French people are very particular.”)
He has a number of wonderful tarts, but my favorite is a new addition--a chocolate, pistachio, and brandied cherry tart. It is a real labor of love: The tart shell is made of pate sucre, a sweet pastry dough that Zachary flavors with vanilla beans. Then he pats the dough carefully into shape using a ring mold. It’s baked, cooled, and ground to be perfectly flat and symmetrical.
Next he paints the interior with melted milk chocolate and coats the bottom with a thin layer of vanilla-pistachio custard. He chills it, then layers in chocolate mixed with egg, sugar and cream. He lets that set, and finally glazes the top with a last layer of slightly sweeter chocolate. He tops the finished tart with three cherries that have steeped in French brandy and a smattering of pistachios.
The resulting dessert could be on the menu at one of the best restaurants in town. The crust is crumbly and buttery, the pistachio cream adds an unexpected luxe touch, and the chocolate is not-too-sweet, not-too-bitter. And I am a sucker for brandied cherries.
Bien Cuit is at 120 Smith Street between Dean and Pacific streets in Brooklyn. For more dining recommendations, visit CHOW.com. I’m Alex Van Buren of CHOW.com, for food, drink and fun.