Do I know more about chocolate than I’ll likely ever know about coffee? Yes. Does that keep me from drinking the equivalent of 10-15 espressos a day? No. After all, I’m only hooked on Coutume Café like crack. It’s there that the ever-talented Kevin and Talor (the newest barista extraordinaire) turn me on to dazzling blends, drips, pulls and methods of enjoying their expertly roasted beans. The latest and greatest is of course Talor’s ice-presso (hot espresso served in a frozen cup). So it should be no surprise that I’m always looking for the next dose in one form or another – if not for the splendors of flavor, then at least to stave off a crash or caffeine withdrawal symptoms. There is no such thing as enough.
Since I can’t be at Coutume 24/7, my coffee lust winds up getting sated by the occasional café-imbued pastry. Most just serve as some clumsy approximation of coffee’s delights, as I’ve come to find 90%+ are woefully lacking in the appropriate nuances and quality to be called anything but . . . crude. But there I was at Un Dimanche à Paris a couple weekends back, when I spotted a new addition to their lineup, the Éclair au Café. Could it satisfy me? Would it perhaps even delight me? Well…
Yes and yes. While the main vehicle for the piece is the éclair-standard pâte à chou, it’s been lovingly coated in Un Dimanche à Paris’ trademark cacao nib croustillant. It adds just the perfect touch of sweetness and crumble. Some sweetness and snap is then furnished by a whisperingly thin wafer of 40% milk chocolate. Do I usually hate tempered chocolate on pastries? Yes, but it works here. For not only is it slight enough to bite through without mess, but since the éclair is “open faced” – with a chunnel of crème resting right below the chocolate – that little wafer shields the crème from the elements. God knows I hate when my crème goes knockin’ about with crusty, mingin’ edges. And it’s that crème that is the highlight, my friends. Based in Mascarpone, it’s a sublime blend of milk chocolate with Mexican and Ecuadorian coffees. Fairly sweet and with just a waft of maple’esque tones, it might well be the finest coffee crème in all of Paris.
Of course chef pâtissier Quentin Bailly didn’t believe me when I told him how much I loved the éclair. Last weekend, when I went it to fact-check the ingredients with him for a few pastries I’d shot, he asked what I thought of the éclair. I quickly responsed that it was, in fact, the finest coffee éclair I have ever had. He laughed, but I assured him it was true.
Mmm, it’s a stretch mark of tastiness…
Is the éclair perhaps a little more squished down than it should be? Yes, we can say that … since I know someone would leave a ****** comment to that effect anyway. But it didn’t affect the deliciosity at all.
So, yes, the Éclair au Café from Un Dimanche à Paris is a must-get. But be forewarned that it is only available on the weekends, much like their oh-too-delicious millefeuille. Should you show up another day, you can always content yourself with a Chou Pistache, some hot chocolate, coquelicot macarons, or a candied clementine. And if you’re extra adventurous, you can just enjoy all of those in one sitting, cause that’s exactly the type of thing I would do.