DIY Projects

The Perfect Tart

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Everyone knows I’m a Maison Kayser groupie.  And no, before your wheels start turning, I was not compensated to write this post.  I was invited for a lesson on tart making with Maison Kayser USA’s executive pastry chef Nicolas Chevrieux.  He’s the real deal, he separates the chefs from the cooks, men from the boys, the legits versus the posers – you get the idea.  From a pastry chef perspective, Nicolas is one of the best in the world.  That’s why he works at Maison Kayser.  He graciously took time with me in the middle of opening Maison Kayser’s newest NYC location in Tribeca.  We made a video of the how and what so you can try it at home.  Scroll down to watch and read about how to make the perfect tart.  

Nicolas and Julie

There are several Maison Kayser locations in New York (and around the world for that matter).  Each one has delicious pastry creations just as much as the next – but each store has a signature dessert that reflects the attitude of its neighborhood.  Why?  Because Nicolas wants it that way.  He creates a signature dessert for each location after spending time checking out the neighborhood of each new store.  

Nicolas has been baking for 20 years, well more than that, because he was born to French parents that were bakers (his dad a master pastry chef) and had a boulangerie (bakery) in France.  His brother bakes too – so baking is in his DNA.  He knows everything about pastry (everything).  I improved as a home chef just in the hour I was in the store.  The technique is old world and nothing is hurried, so his pastries are perfect and delicious.  I don’t have the patience to do things the way he does, but wow, I was impressed.  He was also a really sweet, pardon the pun, guy and was kind and generous so he is my new favorite pastry chef to follow.
Maison Kayser Tribeca

If I worked at Maison Kayser I would be a diabetic and probably get fired for laying inside the bakery case and rolling around on the desserts.  Did you see the photo above?  A staff thirty pastry chefs begin at 2 am each morning preparing the days selection of treats.  

Did someone say delicious?

Each item is its own work of art.  Fruits are fresh sourced daily to create the mango, raspberry, or cherry treats.  Only the finest chocolates, vanilla beans, and other baking necessities are used.  Oh and all ingredients are made from scratch, like all of them.  The items offered are seasonal, so you’re probably not going to find certain fruits in the dead of winter or certain nuts in summer.  But sourcing what is in season makes the pastries taste more delicious and fresh.  Maison Kayser doesn’t sacrifice quality and taste – ever.  You don’t have to believe me, taste for yourself!


The financier (small french cake) is one of their signature desserts in seven flavors.  Eclairs are big too.  Did you know that the Petit Fours take two days to complete.  Whoa!

I’ll take two!

Nicolas shared with us how to make a caramel tart (the signature tart of the Tribeca location) and a raspberry cream tart.  These were easier than I thought they would be.  Okay, let me clarify.  They were easier to assemble that I thought they’d be.  Mind you, all ingredients are made by hand, from scratch with perfect culinary technique.  So preparing the ingredients to assemble the tart takes hours if you want to do it correctly.  You could modify this tart and purchase the ingredients (and it will still be amazing) but it won’t be Nicolas’ tart.

Amazing, truly amazing,

We started with the caramel tart.  The video shows the step by step.  


Below is a photo collage of each step.  Nicolas began by filling a tart shell with homemade caramel.  Then he adds a dollop of chocolate mint cream on the center.  TIP:  Nicolas makes whipped cream with no sugar added.  The chocolate and mint are more than sufficient.  I know because I tried some and it was out of this world delicious.  I want to try this at home because I think homemade whipped cream adds so much to a dessert, but not adding sugar actually makes it better – Who knew?  He added a small chocolate square and a bit of toffee crumble and then finished the top with a fancy pants chocolate twill.  Amazing.

The steps

The final product looks like this (below).  It is so rich that after one or two bites you’re done.  This could be made at home for an elegant dinner party with purchase caramel, cream, chocolate, and toffee crumble.  Good luck getting yours to taste like Nicolas’ though.


The raspberry is perfect for summer.  Although as with the caramel, one or two bites and that’s all she wrote.  No way could you eat an entire tart.  It’s SO rich.  Begin with a tart shell and fill with vanilla cream.  Place raspberries upside down around the edges and three raspberries right side up in the center.  Finish by adding three more upside raspberries to cover the holes and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Nicolas taught me that the berries will absorb some of the sugar and this will cut the acidity.  Allow the tart to rest for a bit before serving for the sugar to absorb.

And the raspberry!

I liked the raspberry best because it was hot outside and the berries were light and refreshing.  Both tarts were completely delicious.  In the photo below you may observe the tart in the center versus the two on either side.  The back two have had time for the sugar to absorb and the one in the center is the one we made.  Allowing the sugar to absorb for a few hours makes a big difference (nobody wants a mouthful of powdered sugar).  

Raspberries and Cream

The finished products are below.  It was an amazing afternoon that I won’t forget.  Maison Kayser is a must see restaurant.   Check out Maison Kayser on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram!  A special thank you to the staff at Maison Kayser, Nicolas Chevrieux, and Janet Mick.

Dessert Perfection.

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Julie, The Effortless Girl, is from a small (teeny tiny) community in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. The Effortless Girl was born out of a desire to challenge herself to find accessible, unique lifestyle ideas with cost savings in mind. LEARN MORE >

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