Back in October, when I was putting together my list of the best pastries in Paris, I went through all my notes and photos about three or four times. I wanted to be sure I included every single one of the greatest pieces. What I forgot is that several of the first pastries I ate, during my last stint in Paris, had their photos and notes on another drive in my computer. Most of those pâtisseries weren’t up to the level of “the best”, but one was – the Tarte Mangue from La Pâtisserie des Rêves.
Redoing my “best pastries” list didn’t seem like a good move, when I finally realized my folly, months later. But, yeah, if I had it to do over again, the list would have been a “Top 39” and this little guy would have been at the #37 spot. Assuming La Pâtisserie des Rêves offers it up again in 2012, and assuming it’s at least approximately as tasty as it was in 2011, it’s guaranteed to chart on the list of 40- or 50-some pastries that make up the next installment. With that said, let’s dig in . . .
My notes are very clear that the, “mangos were awesome! … the quintessence of mango” and had clearly been, “grown in a mango grove fertilized only with the remnants of other mangos.” That is literally how profoundly delicious the fruit was. Perfectly textured. Perfectly flavored. I have no idea how anyone could possibly take a mango and do much more with it . . . unless that person was Hugues Pouget doing his Macaron Mangue (#3 on my Top 38 list).
The rest of the piece was a little more hit-and-miss. I found the streusel garnish relatively bland, with the obvious taste of flour. But the shell of the tarte redeemed that downside with a pleasant, moderately complex flavor that did a good bit to complement the fruit. The core of the piece then featured what was a fairly chewy pâte d’amande and lightly vanillaed crème – the latter of which played brilliantly off the texture of the mangos. Really, were it not for the streusel and minor textural issues with the almond paste, I’d have put this at the #11 spot. But, hey, it was still amazing.
Looking at this shot, not only can you almost taste it, but almost smell and feel it . . .
I’m so glad I lost the 35lbs. I gained last year in Paris – and am now technically 10lbs. underweight. As torturous as it’s been, the idea that I will soon binge on goodies like this, all day every day, and with complete impunity, is . . . indescribable.
Yum . . .
So, yes, definitely make sure to grab a Tarte Mangue. Despite the deficiencies of the streusel, it’s stellar. And while you’re at La Pâtisserie des Rêves, make sure to snag a Grande Brioche, chausson aux pommes, Grand Cru, and Saint-Honoré. Then go find a quiet place nearby where you can binge on it all without suffering the indignity of others’ judging stares.
SUPER SPECIAL: I’m giving away two copies of ‘Mad about Macarons!’! Check out the site here on Wednesday to see how you can win. The winners will be announced on Friday, cause it’s a speedy giveaway!