Un Dimanche à Paris :: Choux Fraise Fleur d’Oranger
With Un Dimanche à Paris’ two week hiatus upon me, I’ve been forced to become a regular at one of the other shops. Whom have I chosen for my excessive patronage? Pierre Hermé. After months of sporadic visits, everyone there has quickly grown to recognize me – with a smile – when I step into the shop, and I even got a friendly-smirked “à demain” (until tomorrow) from the cashier yesterday. While I’m actually doing what I can to split my time between PH and Ladurée, PH does have four of my current favorites in the city (while Ladurée is only keeping me fully in love with a number of their macarons) so it’s pretty much requisite that I buy at least three of those four every day, until Un Dimanche reopens its doors on the 16th. It’s kind of killing me to be without clementines and hot chocolate, but I’m managing one day at a time.
When Un Dimanche finally does let me back in, I’ll be back to all my old favorites. But I can almost guarantee a new piece or two will be there, if not just around the corner. Monsieur Bailly has a habit of coming up with new innovations, and a two-week-long vacation, I’m sure, will have caused many excellent ideas to percolate in his mind. What I love even more about his creativity is that it can happen completely on-the-fly, in a manner you’d almost never see at any other shop. In fact, one day when there were an abundance of strawberries and a tragic lack of raspberries, Monsieur Bailly improvised the pastry we’ll be delighting in here today. With only a single afternoon in the case, maybe just a dozen made, and a very low probability of it coming back any time in the near future, the only way to get your mittens on this Choux Fraise Fleur d’Oranger is by rubbing and or licking the screen right this second.
So, for an improvised pastry, how did this turn out? It turned out great . . . even for a well-considered and carefully perfected piece. It was that good. I remember telling shop director, Perrine, how I’d be easily swayed to purchase this over their ever-magnificent Choux Pistache Fruits-Rouge. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for the orange blossom flavored crème Chantilly – a load of which was lovingly piped into this little one. Maybe it’s the tender choux, sporting its lightly sweet and boldly flavored chapeau of confit de fraise. It could simply be the sweet heart of strawberry compote nestled within it all. Or perhaps it’s the mélange of all these bits that makes for such an overwhelmingly fresh and delicious taste sensation.
Looking at these photos, and ruminating on the excellence of this puff, makes me think back to those hopelessly ordinary pieces at Popelini, which had been the talk of the town when I first arrived in Paris. Monsieur Bailly just made this awesomeness on a whim, and the team at Popelini, “specialists” in choux, can’t even turn out something to mildly amuse me. It makes me just want to stop by their store, peek inside and give the owner a very disappointed look. Maybe I’ll even shrug and affect a look of complete disdain, whilst regarding the pastry case, before turning around and walking away.
Yum . . .
So, yes, I would definitely recommend getting one of these if you ever perfect time travel. Just transport yourself to Paris on July 6th of 2011, and you might even be able to purchase them all before I have a chance to buy one. Of course, then how could I have ever written this review, and how would you have known to buy them all?