Over the last decade, Aussie cafés have been putting their roots down in major American cities. Characterized by a minimalist aesthetic, single-origin brews, flat whites, avocado toast and friendly Aussie expat staffers, these cafés have relied on a simple, not disingenuous formula: a cool vibe, quality-focused products (and not too many of them) and baristas you could imagine knowing on a first-name basis.
Today New York City hosts over 30 such Australian cafés, ranging from locally-focused fingerling shops like Sweatshop Coffee in Williamsburg, Two Hands in NoLIta, Hole in the Wall in FiDi, Brunswick in Windsor Terrace and Seven Point Espresso in Crown Heights to more major establishments like Toby’s Estate and market leader Bluestone Lane.
The latest import to New York City is Bourke Street Bakery, a Sydney-based institution scheduled to open this fall. Bourke Street Bakery wooed Sydney’s Surry Hills 14 years ago with Aussie classics like pavlova and lamingtons, pork and fennel sausage rolls, as well as ginger brûlée tarts and artisanal sourdough boules. Co-owned by Paul Allam and David McGuinness, the 2,000-square-foot space will find its home at 15 East 28th Street, off of Madison Ave.
Below is Bourke Street Bakery’s recipe for its ginger brûlée tart. “People go crazy for it,” says Jessica Grynberg (Allam’s wife and business partner) of this tart, which Yotam Ottolenghi features with his own personal touches in his latest book, crediting Bourke Street Bakery.
McGuinness got the idea for the tart while traveling through the Himalayas in India. “On this particular night some friends had invited me to dinner in the next village, about 20 minutes up a steep rocky track” he writes in his cookbook All Things Sweet, debuting in the U.S. on November 6.
The recipe below calls for pouring cream with a 35 percent fat content, which results in a softer filling than the version the Bourke Street team makes in the bakery. The bakery version calls for a cream with 45 percent fat, which is often hard to find in shops. “If you prefer,” McGuiness writes in their upcoming book, “leave out the blowtorch step and serve the tarts simply filled with the ginger custard—just sprinkle a few pistachio nuts on top.”
Ginger Brûlée TartExcerpted from Bourke Street Bakery: All Things Sweet by Paul Allam and David McGuinness. Copyright © 2018 Murdoch Books. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Makes twenty 8-centimeter (3 1/4-inch) tarts
720 milliliters (25 fluid ounces) thin pouring cream (35% fat)
One 5-centimeter (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced
1 cardamom pod, bruised
1/2 cinnamon stick
10 egg yolks
80 grams (2 3/4 ounces or 1/3 cup) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Twenty 8-centimeter (3 1/4-inch) blind-baked sweet shortcrust pastry shells
1 1/2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, chopped
1. Put the cream, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over high heat. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat, pour into a container, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight for the flavours to infuse.
2. Reheat the cream mixture to simmering in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
3. Whisk the egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds.
4. Pour the infused cream through a fine sieve, discarding the spices, then whisk into the egg yolk mixture.
5. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water.
6. Stir with a whisk until the mixture is smooth and thick, scraping down the side of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring at all times or the mixture will curdle.
7. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for 2 minutes to cool. Over the next hour, whisk every 10 minutes until cooled. Clean the side of the bowl with a spatula, lay plastic wrap on the surface of the mixture and chill overnight to set.
8. Using a piping (icing) bag fitted with a plain nozzle, pipe the custard into the cooled blind-baked pastry shells, just slightly overfilling each one.
9. With a small pallet knife, scrape the custard so it’s flush with the top of the tart shells. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
10. To serve, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon caster sugar over the top of each tart and heat with a blowtorch to caramelize the top. Sprinkle a few pistachios on top.
Note: The ginger brûlée cream will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, but the filled tarts will not last longer than a day.
Photo courtesy of Bourke Street Bakery.