Tourte Binchoise

Background of informant:

My informant YF is an international student from Brussels, Belgium. He spent the first two years of high school in Los Angeles, and the last year back in Brussels. He lived in Wallonia in Belgium, which is the French-speaking region that accounts more than a half of the country.


Main piece:

YF: “‘tourte binchoise’ is the food that only being made during the Carnival week, of the entire year. ‘Tourte’ normally means a sweet pie, and ‘Binchoise’ means ‘from Binche’. It’s basically a pie, with … just piecrust, made with sponge cake, as the vessel containing the cream. The filling is orange custard, with a layer of marzipan. That’s something made of confectioner sugar, you know, the really fine sugar, and almond meal. You can only find it during the Carnival. Because it is so limited in time and location, the recipe is so secretive, and it’s so hard to find one.”

Two weeks later, I asked about this pie again, and YF was trying to find a recipe of it online.

YF: “You will notice that the name of this pie is ‘Plus Oultre’. Plus Oultre comes from Latin ‘Plus Ultra’, meaning literally ‘More Far’, or ‘further in good’ in English. It is the motto in Spain, or the city where this pie is from, Binche, that is the name that backery gave its pie. [showed me a picture] This is a similar thing to ‘tourte binchoise’. This is the scandalous orange Tarte. It lloks a nit different than the one that I had in the carnival, but it has the same elements! So I believe it would taste the same!”


Context of the performance:

The first part was within a general conversation about the Carnival of Binche, within a interview I had with my informant YF. The second part was done two weeks later when I tried to acquire a recipe of the pie.


My thoughts about the piece:

After YF first talked me about this pie in our first conversation, I didn’t really pay attention to this pie. However, when I was transcribing the interview, I started to be really curious about the recipe of the pie. I then reached out to YF but he told me this pie is so rare and secretive, and it turned out that he couldn’t even find a recipe of it on the Internet, in 2017…


The orange Tarte recipe that YF showed me is online, here is the URL:

The recipe is in French.