Paris Sweets: A Photo Catch-Up
Here’s the genius demonstrating the proper way to cut the cake: keep dipping your knife in hot water to warm it (it gives you the cleanest cut); and cut the white chocolate ribbon, put it aside and then serve it with the sliced cake. And yes, that’s a box of macarons behind the cake; unseen is the box of chocolates. Hey, it was my birthday!
And because neither man, woman nor child live on cake alone, Apollonia Poilane arrived with a still warm round of her signature — and magnificent — bread
I was not only grateful to Apollonia for the gift, I was grateful to her for forever solving my what-shall-I-bring-as-a-gift problem. It’s an impressive gift, but more than that, it’s delicious — delicious with every dish imaginable, fabulous with cheese and terrific toasted. And it will be terrific for 4 days or more.
And, while we’re on the topic of Poilane, there’s a new bread in the shop: Pain d’Epices. It’s always hard to describe pain d’epices. I think of it as a cross between honey cake and gingerbread, but it’s not the most exact description. For now, think of that way and know that Poilane’s bread has an amazingly good and well balanced spice blend. In fact, it’s one of, if not the best pain d’epices I’ve ever tasted. Actually, do you want to know how good it is? So good that I nibbled my way through the loaf without ever putting a thing on it — not butter, not cream cheese, not goat cheese (oh, it’s so good with goat cheese), not jam.
A couple of weeks ago, when friends from Amsterdam came to visit, we ‘traveled’ out to the 16th arrondissement to have tea at Patisserie des Reves. Philippe Conticini has a Patisserie des Reves within walking distance of my apartment, but there’s no place to sit down, so out to the (chic) edge of Paris we pilgrimaged. It was a long metro ride and it was raining when we emerged, but you know what? I’d pilgrimage out again for these treats. Here’s Conticini’s reading of the Gateau Saint Honore
A classic Saint Honore is normally round — it’s a ring of puff pastry, topped with a circle of cream puff dough on which individual caramel-topped cream puffs are ‘glued’ with shiny caramel. The cream puffs and the center of the ‘cake’ are filled with a creme Chiboust, a pastry cream lighted with meringue, and then the whole creation is topped with whipped cream. Here’s a peek into the Conticini version
The pastry is built on a sheet of puff pastry. Caramel-glued to the pastry are two long — think eclair — cream puffs filled with Chiboust. They’re topped with caramel-glazed Chiboust-filled cream puffs and the dessert is finished with whipped cream. You’ll be glad to know that it was not just gorgeous, but luxuriously delicious.
And this from Conticini
It’s a giant brioche feuillete (accent on the last ‘e’) made by treating brioche dough like puff pastry dough. Inside, the crumb looks more like croissant than brioche. Here’s a picture of a cut-apart brioche feuillete from Moisan
And just a few more things for now, like this chocolate tartlet from Gontran Cherrier in Montmartre. The filling is a traditional dark chocolate ganache, but it has a hidden layer of nuts in caramelized honey … lovely.
And a display of soft chocolate cakes in a Montmartre patisserie — I’m sorry, I didn’t write down the name — that I thought looked so appealing and that made me feel so much better about the tens of similar chocolate cakes I’ve made that sunk in just the same way
And finally, just because, Paris, beautiful Paris.