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:
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:
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.
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!