In honor of Bastille Day on July 14, Chef Ludo shared with us his favorite dessert to make — a lavender tropézienne and serve at an outdoor party. With a newly designed outdoor space, the French chef, husband, and father of two, looks forward to serving this iconically French dessert to his family and friends.
Tropezienne is a cake made of egg and butter-based brioche dough and then formed into a round shape and topped with an egg wash and sugar. After it’s been cooled, it’s cut in half like a player cake and filled with cream, in this case, a lavender-infused cream.
Pro Tip: Use a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer for this recipe, since the dough is heavy and sticky.
Chef Ludo’s Lavender Tropézienne
- 1/4 cup lukewarm whole milk (105°F to 110° F)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Nonstick cooking spray
Lavender Crème Pâtisserie:
(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)
- 6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 large egg yolks, divided
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 vanilla beans split lengthwise
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon ground dried lavender
Optional: Sliced seasonal fruit
To make the dough:
1. Stir the warm milk and yeast in a small bowl. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in the mixer bowl to blend well. Add the eggs, egg yolk, and yeast mixture. Beat on medium speed until the dough is elastic, about 2 minutes (the dough will be very sticky). With the machine running, gradually add the butter, beating until well blended.
2. Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe the dough into 12 mounds onto the baking sheet, using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each mound and spacing the mounds evenly apart. Since the dough will be sticky, it’s helpful to cut the dough with scissors when piping each mound onto the baking sheet. Otherwise, you can just drop the dough onto the baking sheet with a spoon. Spray a large sheet of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and cover the dough. Set the dough mounds aside in a warm draft-free area until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Reshape any misshaped mounds, if necessary.
3. Meanwhile, to make the crumble topping and bake the breads:
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.Using your fingers, mix the flour, granulated sugar, and butter in a medium bowl until little sugary breadcrumbs form.
5. Sprinkle the crumble topping generously over the risen dough mounds and bake until they are golden brown on the bottom and lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes.
To Make the Lavender Crème Pâtisserie:
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar in the mixer bowl until well blended and pale yellow. Beat in 1 of the egg yolks. Continue beating until well blended, smooth, and creamy. Set the butter mixture aside.
Place the milk in a heavy medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the milk then add the beans. Bring the milk just to a simmer over medium–high heat.
In the meantime, beat the remaining 5 egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, flour, and lavender in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk some of the milk into the egg mixture, then whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan. Add the butter mixture and whisk vigorously for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture looks like a thick pudding. Strain the crème pâtissière into a bowl, then cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours before serving.
Cut the brioche horizontally in half. Set the bottom halves of the brioche in the center of 12 plates. Pipe or spoon the crème patisserie over the bottom halves, then cover with the brioche tops. Sift the powdered sugar over the tropéziennes, garnish with the fresh lavender, and serve immediately.
Optional: Add sliced seasonal fruit before covering with brioche tops e.g., sliced peaches, strawberries.