Sunday, 5 January 2014

Parisien Adventures- Part I: Pierre Hermes

Just before Christmas I was fortunate enough to get to go to Paris for a few days. Paris is THE European city of culture, art and of course patisserie! So many of the world's most iconic cakes, pastries and sweets come from Paris and many of the world's most famous pastry chefs are based in Paris. 

A visit to Pierre Herme's shop was top of my list and while wandering past the San Sulpice church (most recently made famous by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code) we looked up his boutique on Rue Bonaparte. Pierre Hermes is probably best known for his macarons (see the addition of foie gras to the filling of the macarons below!), but the shop features so many other beautiful creations from innovative buche de noel to glossy tarts. Stunning is a word used without any hint of exaggeration here, the immaculate finish and precision of all the pastries was most striking. 

Almost overwhelmed by so many beautiful options we finally chose two pastries. The first was 'Desire' which Pierre Herme's website describes as "Brittany-style sablé pastry, lemon cream, strawberry and banana compote, tender lemon biscuit, whole strawberries". 

The second was an equal feast for the eyes, a gargantuan slab of caramel coloured layers: 2000 Feuilles. Herme describes this as  'Flaky caramelized puff pastry crust, crispy praliné with Piedmont hazelnuts, praliné mousseline cream'. 

We devoured ate both sitting on a bench in the nearby Luxembourg gardens. It was pretty cold. We didn't care. 

Desire was light and zesty, 2000 Feuilles more filling and sweet but both shared a common factor in their 
excellence: contrast of texture. The crispiness of the puff pastry in the 2000 Feuilles was stunning; it was almost as if each layer of pastry was baked individually and then painstakingly layered. The caramelised nuts also provided a crunch that elegantly complimented the silky praline mousse. 

Similarly the zestiness of the lemon cream in Desire was off set by the sweet strawberries and the crumbly biscuit.

Elegant. Delicious. Inspiring.  

Pierre Herme's Desire

Pierre Herme's 2000 Feuilles

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