Paris’s Latest Trend: Millefeuille Made a la Minute (maybe even in a minute)

 The first I’d heard of millefeuille a la minute was when I went to the brand new, almost impossibly hip hotelRoyal Monceau, a luxurious hotel totally ‘relooked’ by Phillippe Starck. I’d gone for breakfast with Pierre Herme, the genie pastry chef who is responsible for everything sweet and baked in the hotel, so I didn’t see the millefeuille maker in action — the pastry chef constructs the dessert ‘on demand’ and right in front of you — but I did see some remarkable Pierre creations:

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Here’s the bread basket that comes to your table when you sit down.  Starting with the baguette and going clockwise, you’ve got: a pumpkin muffin a la Sarabeth; an Ispahan croissant (the croissant is filled with rose-flavored almond cream and raspberries); a mini kugelhopf, a kind of yeasted coffee cake; and finally, between the muffin and the kugelhopf, a kouing-amann, that butter-sugar-bread treat from Brittany that should be on everyone’s list of things to taste in a lifetime.  All of these sweets are also on the beautiful buffet, along with Pierre’s fruit yogurts — the mango was great — jams from the queen of jams, Christine Ferber, butter that you want to eat straight from the tip of a knife, and this granola:

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Amazing, but true, Pierre has managed to turn his beloved Ispahan — a collection of pastries, jams, gelees and chocolates based on the flavors of rose, raspberry and often lychee — into a breakfast cereal!  You get the flavor of rose, there are raspberries in the mix and when you add milk it turns an optimistic shade of pink. The granola itself is a blend of nuts and seeds and oatmeal and it will soon be available at Pierre Herme’s shops.  Breakfast may never be the same.  

Finally, I haven’t had a chance to go yet, but Philippe Conticini, the dream maker behind Patisserie des Reves, is serving millefeuille a la minute at his new tea salon.

Millefeuille means 1000 leaves and I’m getting the sense that 2011 may just have that many new leaves to turn over … and to taste.  It should be a great year! 

Dorie Greenspan

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