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October 28, 2009
Philippe Conticini is back on the Paris pastry scene and he's back with a bang. His new shop, poetically named Patisserie des Reves (Pastry Shop of Dreams), is on the chic rue du Bac, just a minute away from Le Bon Marche department store and supermarket, and on the day we went it was jammed, which is the way I'm told it is all the time. The look of the shop is ultra modern, even space-age-ish, and the women who are there to take your orders on their tablet computers are wearing little white dresses that look like a melange of Correges (sans the short white boots) and Star Trek (sans the bizarre make-up). Even the pastry cases seem a little out-of-this-world. At center stage there's a round double-decker table with the day's offerings displayed under huge bell jars, which are lifted and lowered using a system of stainless steel pulleys. It's stunning and also a bit disconcerting, since the jars are refrigerated and the condensation that mists the glasses makes the pastries -- and the tickets that tell you what they are and what they cost -- hard to see.
But even if you press your nose against the foggy jars, you might have trouble knowing what you're looking at -- nothing is quite what you expect here. The treat under the jar above is a Tarte Tatin, not just deconstructed, but reconceived.
Here it is (in a single-serve size) with its companion treat, a chocolate eclair tucked into a chocolate tube. As you can see, even the packaging (and there was a lot of it) is different. The pastries rest on a piece of foam core and are kept in place with picks topped with Conticini's logo.
The eclair didn't win me over -- I thought its pretty chocolate wrapper made the pate-a-choux soggy, but I did like the chocolate mousse interior. The Tarte Tatin, on the other hand, was a winner, even if there was nothing about it that was true to the original.
In Philippe Conticini's reading of the dessert, each of the elements is prepared separately (not at all the way you make a Tarte Tatin -- if you're interested, I've got a more traditional recipe in Baking From My Home to Yours, page 312). The base is a piece of perfectly made, beautifully baked puff pastry (which I'm almost positive was caramelized). On top of the pastry are confited apples, thinly sliced apples, brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and baked at low heat for a loooooooooong time. (Pierre Herme taught me this recipe and we put it in Desserts by Pierre Herme, where we called it 20-Hour Apples. The recipe, as Pierre told me, is well known and old -- Edouard Nignon wrote about it more than 100 years ago.) And, to finish it, there's a strip of hazelnut streusel. It was great.
Friends whose taste I love -- including Kerrin Rousset, Helene Samuel and Apollonia Poilane -- told me the thing to have is the Paris Brest. Next time ...
Also new are these macarons a la rusk from Sadaharu Aoki. They're the shells that would normally be filled to make macarons, brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and baked again, so that they're drier and crunchier than macarons. In other words, they're macaron biscotti. And they're fun.
Finally, Pierre Herme has two new macarons that are worth trekking across town to taste: Chuao chocolate with cassis (nothing short of amazing); and rose with quince. Sorry, I only thought to photograph them after I'd already eaten them. It's another "next time," I'm afraid.
Tags: Apollonia Poilane
, Baking From My Home to Yours
, Helene Samuel
, Kerrin Rousset
, Patisserie des Reves
, Philippe Conticini
, Pierre Herme
, Sadaharu Aoki
, Tarte Tatin
Chefs, Restaurants and Shops
Patisseries, Boulangeries & Chocolate Shops
Restaurants, Chefs, & Artisans
| October 28, 2009 7:06 AM
How fun Dorie. Your description of that shop sounds like something out of the Jetsons! Thanks for stopping by my blog today :)
| October 28, 2009 7:33 AM
Thanks for the great descriptions. I love the idea of macaroon biscotti. I don't see how the Conticini Tarte Tatin could be better than your recipe in Baking From My Home To Yours.
| October 28, 2009 9:12 AM
It seems to me I remember you saying one time Pierre Herme is coming out with a new book, Macaron? As for me, give me the old fashioned shops any day. My dream goes on of visiting them in Paris one day.
| October 28, 2009 11:30 AM
Because I LOVE Paris (well, all of France really, but who doesn't have a soft spot for Paris?) and I LOVE Tarte Tatin and I just made my first one last weekend - this post fascinated me. Thanks for the report - love learning about new trends and hot spot the world over!
Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf
| October 28, 2009 11:38 AM
Next time indeed! :) And also don't miss the Brioche FeuilletÃ©e in the window and high up on the shelves, just huge with a funky spiral top - extraordinary to look at. And taste too I'm sure (next time for me!).
I have to say, when I was there just a few weeks ago, I got a couple of desserts (Tarte au Citron, Paris-Brest and some mini Pains Gourmands), but sans foam and sans pretty pink picks. I got home to a messy box (that was the Velib's fault). So those picks are a great idea - if the Star Trek ladies remember to put them in the box! :)
Fantastic post as usual, filled with divine treats and inspiration for our next times too...!
| October 28, 2009 11:54 AM
Is this not the perfect day? Starting with Tarte Tatin (and a heavy dose of inspiration) at Patisserie des Reves, and slowly meandering over to PierrÃ© HermÃ© to sample heavenly new macaron flavors, and finishing at Sadaharu Aoki... sigh.
| October 28, 2009 12:09 PM
Rose with quince? Sounds like heaven.
| October 28, 2009 2:39 PM
Sounds amazing! My one issue with Paris is that there are too many things to eat--not enough time and not enough room in my stomach!
| October 28, 2009 7:09 PM
It all sounds divine but all I remember is rose w/quince! Lovely!
| October 28, 2009 7:45 PM
Never had a macaron - I wonder why they are all over the web these days. They LOOK sexy as hell, but I've never been a big fan of the dry cookies. It's like a hard meringue, right?
| October 28, 2009 7:54 PM
Any chance of a pic of the ladies in little white dresses? After persuading them to wear little white boots?
| October 29, 2009 6:43 AM
Dorie, you make me wish I were in Paris right now. I've been longong to visit Philippe's shop. it looks... dreamy.
as for the macarons, they sound delicious.
oooooh Paris. x
| October 29, 2009 9:38 AM
Dorie, I love your blog and often rearange my weekend plans based on your recommendations. My kids and I love food adventures and I am never disappointed when we follow your lead.
Thanks a bunch :)
The Hungry Mouse
| October 29, 2009 10:04 AM
Oh my goodness, that tarte tatin looks wonderful.
And I agree with all of the above...I'd love to see a picture of those servers!
| November 2, 2009 8:32 AM
Just out of curiosity- how many euros did the Tatin set you back? All that fancy packaging...
| November 2, 2009 9:02 AM
Thanks all. I, too, wish you could have been with me. Actually, wouldn't it be fun to take a sweet tour together? Maybe one day ...
To answer a couple of questions:
Martha, Pierre Herme did publish a book on macarons, called Macarons, but it's only available in French and I don't know if there are plans to publish it in English.
Wandering Foodie, macarons are not hard like ordinary meringue sweets. The meringue used in the batter is not beaten until it is firm and the 'cookies' themselves are 'ripened' in the refrigerator overnight, so their outer shells are firm and crackly and their interiors are soft and a little chewy.
Renee, I no longer have the bill, but I think the Tarte Tatin cost 4.80 euros, which is about average (maybe even a little low) for similar sweets in similarly high-quality patisseries.
| November 3, 2009 9:41 AM
It seems to me I remember you saying one time Pierre Herme is coming out with a new book, Macaron? As for me, give me the old fashioned shops any day. My dream goes on of visiting them in hollywwood one day.
cures for anxiety
| November 11, 2009 1:06 PM
Oh my, non! Macarons are chewy, with a paper-thin crisp crust and almondy interior. Flavors are always intense, whether citron or chocolat. They are my absolutely favorite pastry. Just got back from Paris and had at least one a day.
The Paris Food Blague
| January 19, 2010 9:36 PM
gosh macaron biscotti...that is just brilliant. beautiful pictures.
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