Paris Sweets: New Ways with Old Faves
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.
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.