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Giselle Courteau is a self-taught home baker who first discovered French macarons and became determined to replicate the delicate treats at home. After finally perfecting the recipe (she tried a lot of recipes), Giselle was inspired to open her own bakery: The Duchess Bake Shop.

Now, Giselle has released a cookbook that features her shop’s bestselling macaron recipe, as well as many other classic confections with contemporary twists.

Giselle dropped by The Social to share the secret behind the art of the tart with four tasty recipes.


Autumn Tart

Makes 1 x 8-inch or 3 x 4-inch tarts


  • 1 parbaked tart shell
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, for garnish
  • 1 medium orange (not peeled)
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 240 g (1 cup) water
  • ½ vanilla bean, sliced open lengthwise
  • pinch ground gloves or 1 whole clove
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 8 peppercorns


You will need a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and a small offset spatula.

To prepare the orange slices:

  1. Prepare a carouche – a paper lid to keep the oranges submerged in the syrup while they are poaching. Do this by cutting a circle out of parchment paper sized to just fit inside a small saucepan. Make a small hole in the centre for venting.
  2. Slice the orange as thinly as possible while keeping the fruit intact.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean, and spices. Bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce the heat to minimum and lay the orange slices in the syrup so that they overlap and form a circle. Fit the cartouche snugly overtop. Simmer on low for 2 hours, or until the orange slices are soft, have absorbed some of the syrup, and look slightly translucent. To keep the delicate orange slices from falling apart, make sure the simmering temperature is as low as possible and your syrup does not boil. 
  5. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover the saucepan and refrigerate overnight.

For the frangipane


  • 40 g (1/3 cup) almond flour (finely ground almonds)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 40 g (1/3 cup) finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp berry or superfine sugar
  • 55 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sour cream


  1. Preheat your oven to 375F. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, orange zest and hazelnuts. Set aside.
  3. Put the egg and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed until frothy. Slowly stream in the melted butter and mix until well incorporated. 
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients and the sour cream until just combined.
  5. Using a small offset spatula, gently spread the frangipane batter over the bottom of the tart, taking care not to break the shell. The batter should fill up the tart about halfway. Be careful not to overfill, as the frangipane will rise in the oven. Discard any leftover frangipane. 
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the frangipane is golden brown and has puffed up. Prepare the caramel glaze while the frangipane is in the oven.

For the caramel glaze


  • 1 tbsp ice water
  • ½ tsp powdered gelatin
  • 90 g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) whipping cream
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) berry or superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter


  1. Make sure the water is ice cold. Put it in a small microwaveable bowl, sprinkle in the gelatin, and stir to dissolve. Set aside at room temperature until firmly set, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Heat the cream in a microwave or a small saucepan on the stove until scalding. Set aside as you melt the sugar.
  3. Place about a quarter of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Gently melt the sugar, swirling the saucepan around as needed. Do not stir. Once the sugar is almost melted, sprinkle another quarter of the sugar into the saucepan and continue to swirl. Repeat twice more and cook until all the sugar is completely melted and has turned amber in colour.
  4. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the hot cream. Be sure to pour carefully as the mixture will bubble up. Using a heatproof spatula or a wooden spoon, mix the caramel until smooth. Using a fine mesh strainer, immediately strain the caramel into a heatproof bowl.
  5. Mix the butter into the caramel until it is fully melted and well incorporated. 
  6. Melt the set gelatin in the microwave for 1 minute, or until completely liquid, and then stir it into the caramel. Set aside and let cool slightly. 

To finish the tart

  1. Brush the baked frangipane generously with orange poaching syrup. 
  2. Pour on a layer of caramel. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes. 
  3. When the caramel is set, gently remove the orange slices from the syrup. They will be quite soft so be careful not to tear them. Using a paper towel, pat the excess syrup off the slices and arrange them over the caramel. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts to finish. Serve at room temperature.

Storage: This tart will keep at room temperature for up to three days.


Fruit Tart

Makes 1 x 8-inch tart


  • 1 fully baked tart shell 
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced open lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch 
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • Fresh fruit of your choice (we prefer berries)
  • ¼ cup apricot jam
  • 1 tsp water
  • Fresh lemon zest, for garnish (optional)


To make the pastry cream:

  1. Heat the milk and vanilla bean in a saucepan until scalding. 
  2. While the milk is heating, place the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until the yolks have lightened in colour. This will take a few minutes of vigorous whisking. Whisk in the cornstarch and salt.
  3. Remove the vanilla bean from the heated milk and, using the back of a knife, scrape the seeds back into the milk. 
  4. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the yolk mixture while continuing to whisk. If you add the hot milk too quickly the eggs will curdle and your pastry cream will come out lumpy. 
  5. Once all the milk has been added, transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and place over medium heat, Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil, and continue cooking for 5 minutes more, whisking the entire time. 
  6. Remove from heat. Immediately strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps. Add the butter and whisk until smooth; or, if you want your pastry cream even smoother, use an immersion blender. 
  7. Cover the pastry cream and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until set. 

To assemble tart:

  1. Use a spatula to slightly break up the cold pastry cream. Fill the tart shell with pastry cream to just slightly below the rim, spreading it out smoothly with a knife or a small offset spatula. 
  2. Arrange the fresh berries or other fruit in a pattern on top. 
  3.  In the microwave or over the stove, gently melt the apricot jam with the water –without letting it come to a boil –and brush it generously over the top of the fruit. Garnish with fresh lemon zest. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Storage: This fruit tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. key-lime-tart.jpg

Key Lime Tart

Makes 4 x 4-inch tarts


  • 1 ¼ cups graham crumbs
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp. firmly packed grated lime zest (about 4 limes) 
  • 1 ¼ cups sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)


  1. Preheat your oven to 300F (150C). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the start rings on it. 
  2. In a bowl, combine the graham crumbs, sugar, and butter. Stir until the graham crumbs are moist and stick together slightly when clumped. 
  3. Place about ½ cup of the crumb mixture into one of the rings. Using your fingers, gently press crumbs up the sides of the ring to cover. Fill the bottom with the crumbs that remain. Repeat for the remaining rings. If you’re using a pie plate, lightly butter the plate and press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and sides using your fingers. 
  4. Bake the tart shells for 12 minutes (14 minutes if using a pie plate). Remove from the oven and increase the oven’s temperature to 325F (160C).
  5. To make filling, whisk together the egg yolks, lime zest, and condensed milk in a bowl until smooth.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, fill the baked tart shells level with the top/ 
  7. Bake the tarts for 10 minutes (18 minutes if using a pie plate). Allow them to cool for 10 minutes before gently removing the tart rings. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until finally chilled. Using a pie server or a large spatula, transfer the chilled tarts to individual plates or small cake boards and serve.

Storage – Key lime tarts will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.


Chocolate Tart

Makes 1 x 8-inch tart


  • 1 fully baked chocolate tarte shell
  • ½ cup dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup feuilletine 
  •  Coco nibs, for garnish (optional)
  • 2/3 cup dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup milk chocolate
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 3 tsp white corn syrup 
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter 


How to make the feuilletine base

  1. Slowly melt the ½ measurement of dark chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Once chocolate is fully melted, mix in the feuilletine. 
  2. Using an offset spatula, gently press the mixture into the bottom of the tarte shell, making sure to fill all corners. Set aside. 
How to make the chocolate ganache
  1. Slowly melt the dark and milk chocolate for the ganache over a double broiler or in the microwave. While the chocolate is melting, combine the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat until just scalding. 
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in three parts, using a spatula to mix well between each addition. 
  3. Add the butter in a few small pieces and, using a spatula mix until smooth and no traces of butter remain. 
To finish the tart
  1. Pour the ganache into the tart shell, making sure not to overfill it (there might be a bit left over). Sprinkle cocoa nibs in a decorative line over the top of the tart for added crunch.
  2. Refrigerate the tart for at least 3 hours, until well set. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving

Storage: This tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.