Pain de Sucre :: Baobab
Don’t pretend like you don’t know what that is. We all do it. A batch of brownies comes out of the oven, we’re frosting a cake, that bowl of cereal is being poured and we go, “This would be a hundred times better if I jammed a pipette full of rum into it!” It’s only natural to want to suck 5-10ml of that golden nectar into a plastic bulb and then slide it into our food. Some might even say it’s what nature intended. Others might call it “alcoholic” or “crazy”, and when I saw it at Pain de Sucre, I was very tempted to say “gimmicky”. It might be all of these things, or it might be none. The only way to at least rule out the last of those adjectives was to bring it home with me, take a few dozen photos and then do the taste test: Baobab sans extra rum and Baobab avec extra rum. Would the option of squirting a little more “juice” onto the already rum-laden cake elevate it from merely good to clearly great?
Before I address the burning question, let’s just enjoy the Baobab au naturel. Aesthetically it’s quite simple, as almost all baba au rhum variations are. Yet it truly is a beautiful surface with gorgeous coloration, isn’t it? Well done, Pain de Sucre. Texturally, it’s much more on-point than I expected. Mentally subtracting out the rum it’s soaked in, it’s a decidedly moist and smooth cake. I wouldn’t have been shocked to see anyone mishandle it into a state of ridiculous density or sea-sponge-like absurdity – but Pain de Sucre avoided those pitfalls. And the vanilla crème at the base of the cup was also a delight. The rum hadn’t really infused its way in there, which was a good thing, although I would have liked a little more pronounced of a vanilla flavor to duke it out with the alcohol in the cake above. On the whole . . . the totality is impressive.
Now was the time to experiment. I first took a little dribble directly from the pipette onto my tongue and let it roll around. It reminded me a bit more of Scotch than rum, but really, that’s of little consequence; it was a nice mid-grade spirit. So I next broke off a series of cake pieces and lined them up, with every other one getting a little more of a squirt of rum than the last. The intent wasn’t so much to find the right amount as to make sure I didn’t overdo or underdo the intended application. I wouldn’t want to form a poorly informed opinion, and I don’t believe I ultimately did. The results were clear. It turns out that . . .
Yes, the pipette of rum is an excellent addition. One could certainly enjoy the Baobab without it, but having it there allows you to customize a vital dimension of the piece. My only thought it that perhaps they could find pipettes with a more curious shape to the bulb so that it didn’t come off as so laboratory-like/clinical. But that’s a minor point and doesn’t dissuade me from recommending the Baobab. It’s Baobab’out time you go and get one. [Sorry, I just had to do that.]