During my 2010 pastry adventures, the idea crept into my head that one of the great patisseries really should craft a pastry for me. While some might say that I’m far too offbeat in my critiques to ever merit such an honor, others would recognize that my extreme patronage and adoration of the ultra-luxe Parisian pastry shops does make the notion more than a little reasonable. And I do help bring the world the magic of Parisian patisseries, after all. Why not reward the effort? All I needed was a plan to help speed this process along . . .
Now I’d noticed, as many people have, that the French essentially don’t “believe in” peanut butter. Beloved Stateside, wouldn’t it be fantastic to see peanut butter introduced into French pastry? So before I landed here in April, my scheme was simple: incessantly mention the magical pairing of peanut butter & chocolate or peanut butter & chocolate & caramel. If I talked about it often enough, someone would take “the hint”. Un Dimanche à Paris became the shop that bore the brunt of my harping – from the owner, Monsieur Cluizel, to the director, Perrine, and to the chef patissier himself, Quentin Bailly, I referenced what the French call beurre de cacaouette until, well . . . . until L’Ami Caouette was born!
I’m still not sure whether Quentin created this to shut me up or because he was truly intrigued by the challenge of peanut butter. But one day I walked into the shop, and Perrine was like, “You need to see what Quentin is working on.” And I was all like, “What?” And she said, “It’s chocolate . . . with peanut butter!” So we went over to stare at him working on it all, and he quickly arranged the constituent pieces on a plate as a rough prototype for my review. I have to say I was a little surprised by the chocolate + peanut butter + apricot pairing, but he is the master chef. So I nibbled on each of the various bits, as he looked on. Then I gave him some feedback on the weight of the flavors, as well as on the textures – and back to the kitchen he went to continue refining the recipe. Several days later, the finished product was sitting in the pastry case, ready to turn Parisians on to the magic of peanut butter!
You might be wondering how I would review it? I can’t. To be fair, I have to recuse myself from this review. If I say anything good, then how can you really trust me? If I say anything bad, how could I show my face at Un Dimanche again? I can just tell you what’s in it: Roussillon apricots, peanut butter cremeux, apricot moousseux, apricot marmalade, peanut “blanc d’oeuf”, and a little dacquoise.
So, yes, absolutely go to Un Dimanche à Paris now and grab yourself a L’Ami Caouette so that you can assess it on your own. If Perrine is behind the counter, you can also request it merely as “The Adam”. But make sure to come early in the day, as it’s seriously already become one of the hottest sellers.