After 85 years, Poilane remains a household name in baking

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In 2002, Apollonia Poilane took over her family’s famed bakery in Paris following the tragic death of her parents in a helicopter crash. At the time she was an 18 year old student at Harvard. 17 years later, the name “Poilane” remains synonymous with baking excellence. It’s also the title of Apollonia’s new book , her first in English.

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Walnut-Date Bread Crust
Makes 1 9-inch (23cm) Tart

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Walnut-Date Bread Crust. Photography © 2019 by Philippe Vaurès Santamaria.

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Walnut-Date Bread Crust is excerpted from "Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery" © 2019 by Apollonia Poilâne. Photography © 2019 by Philippe Vaurès Santamaria. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

This no-bake crust is made of bread crumbs and chopped dates. Be sure to give the crust time to firm up in the refrigerator so you will be able to slice the tart easily. 



  • 4 ounces (115g) day-old Poilâne-Style Sourdough (see below) or other sourdough, tough crusts removed, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 10 large dried dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (if making the Fruit Compote variation, see below, use only 5 dates)
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) water
  • ¼ cup (30 g) chopped walnuts


  • 9 ounces (255 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 3 ounces (85 g) milk chocolate, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces; 57 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Fine sea salt
  • Whipped cream and/or sliced seasonal fruit, for serving (optional)


  1. Make the Crust: Put the bread, dates, walnuts, and water in a blender and let soak for 20 minutes. Blend until a “dough” forms.
  2. Using your hands, press the date-walnut dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  3. When Ready to Assemble the Tart, Make the Ganache: In a medium bowl, combine the bittersweet and milk chocolates. In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter, and a pinch of salt and heat over medium heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot liquid over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
  4. Pour the ganache into the chilled shell and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours, and up to 24 hours; once the filling has set, cover the tart loosely with plastic wrap.
  5. Slice the tart and serve cold, topped with sliced seasonal fruit and/or whipped cream, if you like.



Evan Kleiman