After you take around 14,000 photos of Parisian pastries and pastry shops in the span of 3 months, you develop certain aesthetic sensibilities. The cloying work of Arnaud Larher or crude efforts of Gerard Mulot make you want to scream . . . just a little. How can I be enthusiastic about pastries that look like they were assembled by and for clowns? There were so many times I passed by shop windows and just said, out loud, “That’s ridiculous.” Just give me something neat like an Aoki, elegant like an H&V, or truly inventive in its style like La Patisserie des Reves.
Among all my favorite no ******** patissiers, Carl Marletti is the standout. I ate every pastry he sold, and not once was there a pointless anything – in or on his work. There was some silver leaf and a few dragees, of course, but those were simply subtle pieces of flare. All other garnishes, no matter how small, were flavored. Every nut, every piece of fruit, every piping of crème had a purpose. And, as you can see in these photos, the man certainly knew how to take the core elements of the flavor palate he’d chosen and bring them to life aesthically. His Tarte aux Peches looks fantastic, in the literal sense.
Were I to rank pastries on beauty alone, this would be a Top 5 contender. With little added effort, I think you could easily plate this tarte in an upscale restaurant. That’s how beautiful it is. The earthy tarte shell, toasted nuts, sweet frangipane and peaches make it a delight to eat, as well. Taking it over the top is the quenelle of mascarpone. Just as Monsieur Marletti’s mascarpone made his Belle Helene come to life, it’s no less magical here. Yum.
I’ve now begun to reach a point where I want to start taking cues from great works like this and applying it to my own baking endeavors (which, btw, are more oriented toward breads and gastronomic obscura – gaufres liégeoises, anyone?). But I’m 34 days away from a 6 month pastry binge in France, so my ability to obsess over my own work is to be non-existent for quite a while. Even though I’m flooded with inspiration, I’m sure to learn much more in the months ahead.
Anyway, back to Marletti’s Tarte aux Peches. I want to live in the little valley above – flanked by two hills of peach and bounded with a looming mountain of sublime mascarpone. I could eat ten of these right now . . .
So, yes, do grab a Tarte aux Peches. It’s just one of the great works from Carl Marletti. You’ll want to stay tuned for the next piece I trot out from him – his Lily Valley. You might just **** your pants a little when you see all the shots; it’s awesome.