The Brioche Tart That Made Julia Child Cry

January 04th, 2008  | Category: Chocolate, Friends, Tarts and Pies

Pomegranates and Fireplace

As I am writing this post, first snow of the year is hitting the streets of İstanbul. It was the only thing missing at our New Year’s Eve dinner party.

I baked two desserts for the occasion: “Chocolate and Chestnut Buche de Noel” and “The Brioche Tart that made Julia Child Cry” (recipe below). Can you believe that name? I didn’t watch that specific episode, but apparently in one of the “Baking with Julia” episodes, she cried after having a bite of this tart. None of us cried at the dinner table, but it sure was delicious.

Here are some photos from the New Year’s Eve dinner party at the mansion.



I will publish the recipe for Chocolate and Chestnut Buche de Noel at the beginning of next week (edit: recipe published here). Here is a sneak preview:

Buche de Noel


On the right, Kaan and Sinan are playing with their Christmas gifts…

Table 2


Christmas Tree


Careful eyes would instantly spot that there is something missing in these pictures… Did you? Yes, the turkey! By the time we dug into the bird and tore it into pieces, I realized that I didn’t take a photo. And then it was too late.

Brioche Tart

Here is the famous Brioche Tart. The original recipe calls for custard baked together with the brioche. I substituted the custard with chocolate ganache. You can find the original recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s award-winning book “Baking with Julia”. My version is at the end of this post.


Gifts 1

Gifts 2


I wish everyone a healthy, peaceful, happy and delicious new year!



  • 1/2 recipe Brioche dough (recipe here)*
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups of berries

* Do not scale down the recipe. Instead, prepare it as is, and if you plan to bake this tart only, freeze the other half. You can always thaw it in the refrigerator 1 day prior to baking one of the following:


  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. First, prepare the ganache so that it cools down and thickens until the Brioche is done. In a medium saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir gently until the chocolate melts completely. Let cool under room temperature.
  3. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan (or a tart pan). Roll out your dough into a 12 inch circle. Press the cake pan on top and cut a 9-inch circle. Place that piece of dough on the bottom of the pan and roll the remaining dough into 10 small balls. Place them on top of the bigger piece, leaving half an inch between the balls.
  4. Cover the cake pan with plastic wrap and let rise under room temperature for 2-3 hours.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg together with water. Brush the top parts with the egg wash (and be careful not to deflate).
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  7. When cooled, remove the Brioche from the pan and transfer to your serving plate. If you’re using a cake stand, it helps to brush the center of the stand with some ganache to secure the tart.
  8. At this point, the ganache should be thick enough to pour in the center of the Brioche tart. If not, transfer it into the refrigerator until it reaches desired thickness.
  9. Place your berries on top of the ganache and serve.
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  1. 1 - Amanda on January 4th, 2008

    I think that if I had the chance to taste this dish, I’d probably cry too! I am not brave enough to try this out yet, but hopefully someday I’ll muster up the courage. Great shots too, your pictures look beautiful.

  2. 2 - Amanda on January 4th, 2008

    And I forgot to say Happy new Year! Can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.

  3. 3 - Clare on January 4th, 2008

    Gorgeous photos! Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  4. 4 - valentina on January 4th, 2008

    Dear Cenk, I just missed the snow then. Looking at the pomegranates in your picture it reminded me of how big and delicious the pomegranates are in istanbul. I love brioche. Have to check this recipe out. Your pictures are amazing. As usual. feast to the eye and soul.

  5. 5 - Warda on January 4th, 2008

    Happy new year Cenk!All the best to you and yours.
    The pictures are gorgeous. I love the light and the table setting (and everything on the table!)
    It may sound like a stupid question, but is christmas in Turkey as much commercialized as it is in Europe or elsewhere?

  6. 6 - Cenk on January 4th, 2008

    Amanda – happy New Year to you, too. And please don’t be afraid of trying your hand at Brioche, Dorie’s recipe is so easy to make (thanks to her detailed explanations).

    Clare – thanks! It was a blast.

    Warda – Thank you so much. Most people do not celebrate Christmas, but New Year’s day is quite commercialized.

  7. 7 - Valerie on January 5th, 2008

    Love the food. Love the photos! They are such terrific quality. Do you mind sharing what type of camera these were shot with?

  8. 8 - Julie O'Hara on January 5th, 2008

    I’m a huge Julia Child fan, so it was fun to read about the brioche. I’ve never made brioche myself, so maybe I’ll start with a less-impressive recipe:)

  9. 9 - Cenk on January 6th, 2008

    Valerie – Thanks! My camera is a Canon 40d. Glad you liked the photos.

    Julie – Dorie’s recipe is very easy to follow. I can not recommend it more (especially if you’re going to bake it for the first time).

  10. 10 - daniesza on January 7th, 2008

    beautiful food, beautiful people, beautiful light… it is a joy joy joy to visit and see what is cooking in your creativity.

    can’t wait to shed a joyous tear over the brioche tart when i muster the time to indulge myself and friends.
    what a wonderful year we will all have!

  11. 11 - joey on January 7th, 2008

    Happy New Year! What a fabulous looking celebration you had 🙂 Even more fab I’m sure with the addition of your desserts! That tart does sound delicious!

  12. 12 - Cenk on January 7th, 2008

    daniesza, joey – Thank you for your nice wishes. I wish you the best in the new year!

  13. 13 - Hillary on January 7th, 2008

    I love how the name of her recipe was never the same since her episode. Sounds very very delicious – I hope you have a wonderful 2008!

  14. 14 - Tartelette on January 8th, 2008

    Your pictures are simply gorgeous! Everything and everybody looks so good and happy!
    Happy New Year!

  15. 15 - jenjen on January 10th, 2008

    Hope it’s not too late to say happy new year.
    I’ve been lurking for too long but couldn’t resist commenting after seeing all the beautiful shots.

    Also, I had no idea that it snowed in Istanbul. I always imagine arid land and sunny weather when I think of Turkey.

  16. 16 - Suzana on January 14th, 2008

    What beautiful photos of what it must have been a nice celebration. Loved the tart – I’ll have to try it!

  17. 17 - Helene on January 15th, 2008

    I just discovered your blog and love it. Great pics.

  18. 18 - Laily on January 16th, 2008


    You take the best pictures!

    I think your photos will make me cry…not the brioche tart. Although I´m sure the tart would just knock me off my feet.

  19. 19 - rivka on January 18th, 2008

    Just discovered your site, and it’s absolutely fabulous!!!

  20. 20 - Amy on June 11th, 2008

    I love that you forgot the turkey picture — too funny! I’m getting lost on your blog for the first time after taking “just 5 minutes” to read the SF Chron food section here at my desk before I get to work (tech…totally not as fun as food) — now it is 10:30, yikes! I’ll be back. Your site is beautiful and it is always a pleasure to meet another baker.

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