Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day on Monday, making your affection known with flowers always feels tempting. When it comes to choosing your flowers, we want to help you opt for some that are both beautiful and produced with the lowest carbon footprint possible. Though there are lots of major horticultural producers in France and Italy, for example, loads of flowers sold in Europe are made up of flowers that have travelled thousands of kilometres.
For several years now, many florists of a new kind have popped up, offering a thoughtful, local alternative to all that. In France, Mathilde Bignon and Audrey Venant are no doubt the pioneers: they co-founded Désirée, which has two exceptional boutiques in the 11th and 19th arrondissements. You’ll find all manner of beautiful blooms here, and the majority are grown in France.
And their social engagement doesn’t stop there. Each of the Désirée boutiques has its own café-restaurant, serving up brilliant, colourful (quite often floral) plates, always with an emphasis on sustainable sourcing. Having explained how to make their buckwheat panna cotta a few months ago, Mathilde and Audrey have now shared the recipe for their grapefruit-pistachio tart, given this is prime citrus season. Bon appétit!
Ingredients for six people
For the short-crust pastry
90g salted butter
Four tablespoons water
For the pistachio cream
100g pistachio powder
100g caster sugar
100g soft butter
First prepare the pastry. Mix the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix with a fork, forming little pellets. Combine with the water, still blending with a fork, before using a floured hand to remove any pastry stuck to the edge of the bowl. Knead the pastry with the palm of your hand seven to ten times.
Leave the pastry to rest for at least one hour (and no longer than 24 hours).
While it rests, prepare the grapefruit: peel the fruit, then using a sharp knife with a long blade, cut the grapefruit segments in such a way that they separate from the skin. You should end up with some very neat segments.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out the pastry in a rectangular strip, fold it in three and roll the pastry again, until roughly 2mm thick. Put in a medium-size tart tin and cover the pastry in parchment paper then raw chickpeas or cooking balls. Place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180C.
Next, make the pistachio cream. Whip the soft butter and sugar together until you obtain a moussy consistency. Add the eggs, mix again, then add the pistachio powder and cornflour and mix once more.
Pour this mixture onto the pastry and place in the over for another 20 minutes at 180C.
Leave to cool. Place the grapefruit segments on the pistachio cream, forming a rosette of sorts. Serve immediately.
One thing worth noting: you could also prepare the grapefruit segments the day before, and lay them out on a small plate in the fridge: that would allow them time to dry a bit (and avoid soaking the pistachio cream).
If you want to discover more recipes from the Désirée team, check out their book Désirée. Pâtisser, Cultiver, Fleurir, which is filled with insights on their pioneering approach to local, seasonal sourcing.