Even among the greatest Parisian pastries, only a few dozen can be classed as exceptional. Fewer still have earned the label of perfection. But the rarest of all are perhaps the two contemporary works that have recently shaped the arc of pastry history in the way that the Saint-Honoré, the macaron, and the opéra once did. Those past classics were all once made by one man or one team, until their magnificence carried them into the hearts, minds and vitrines of chefs all across Paris and beyond. Indisputably, Pierre Hermé’s Ispahan is one of the two modern classics guaranteed to grace pastry cases for hundreds of years to come; in just a decade it’s spread well beyond Monsieur Hermé’s boutiques and has become instantly recognizable, far and wide. And the other modern classic? That’s simple. On June 19th, 2012, the above paradigm-shifting act of unbridled magnificence debuted in the case of Un Dimanche à Paris. Never before in the 1800-year history of The City of Light had peanut butter, caramel and chocolate united into a single act of pastry deliciousness. BEHOLD LE PÉCHÉ D’ADAM!
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, Adam, isn’t this exactly the pastry you’ve been badgering pastry chefs to make for the last three years? And, given that Un Dimanche finally caved and also named it after you, doesn’t that maybe skew your opinion of how significant it is?” Well, um, I guess the easy answers would be yes and yes. But, honestly, my official answer is, “Yes and kinda but not really.” Let me explain . . .
You must understand that, generally speaking, the French don’t “believe in” peanuts. While hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios have an unquestioned place in every single French pastry shop, good luck finding a peanut in one. They get no respect. In fact, ask your average French person their opinion on peanuts, and their most likely response will be along the lines of, “You mean those things at the bar? Yeah, I guess they’re good with beer.” Ask another French person for their feelings on peanut butter, and a totally normal reply will be, “I’ve never had it.” So in introducing a peanut-based pastry to Paris, we are truly changing the game. Parisians are about to experience what dirty Americans like me have long known – peanut butter, chocolate and caramel are as indispensable to life as water or air.
While Le Péché d’Adam has only been out for two weeks now, its sales are brisk. It usually sells-out before day’s end, and I’ve been told it’s already the third most popular pastry in the case. Lest you think I and other Americans are the ones snapping it up . . . au contraire. The most enthusiastic buyers are the French themselves. They love it! It’s been an instant hit with them.
The irony is that I worked with Un Dimanche à Paris’ new chef pâtissier, Kléber Marguerie, to craft Le Péché d’Adam for American sensibilities. After extensive discussions on how it should be composed, Kléber unveiled the prototype to me in early June. My opinion? Delicious, but the design was far too refined – too French. So I forced him to start over and spent the next week bringing in candies and pastries from other shops to serve as reference points for how to make this piece more disgustingly American. There was to be no subtlety. I wanted the ingredients obvious and gooey. And the design? I wanted it fat and adorned with sparkles. When Kléber presented the final piece to me, all I could say was, “Mission accomplished!”
The pastry is loaded with peanuts and then some! For those fans of all things crunchy, there’s plenty to love here. The crème of the piece, too, is a sublime overload of peanut flavor, accented perfectly by alternating layers of sticky-sweet salted butter caramel and peanut Dacquoise. Then, at the very base of the piece, wrapped in all that caramel and nutty cakey goodness, is a mound of 63% Madagascar dark chocolate. It’s basically like a Snickers bar on steroids and made with infinitely more superior ingredients than any candy bar could hope for. Le Péché d’Adam is quite simply . . . a revolution in Parisian gastronomy and a revelation for the senses!
Can’t you just taste the caramel and peanuts here…
And just get a load of all that chocolate, peanut crème, caramel and all those nutty nibblins! Can a life be truly well-lived without first having one of these? No, it cannot.
So, yes, you absolutely must run to Un Dimanche à Paris immediately and purchase one or more of these. Consume it with lusty gluttonous impatience, then run back to the store and buy another. For all my French readers who’ve never before enjoyed the magic of peanuts, caramel and chocolate together, it’s going to change your life. And for all those familiar with the combination, this is still sure to redefine the heights of ecstasy you know that combo can deliver. Why are you even still reading this? Feast . . .
Un Dimanche à Paris
4-6-8, Cour du Commerce Saint-André (map)
Phone: +33 (0)156811818
Boutique Hours: 11AM-8PM from Tuesday to Saturday and 11AM-7PM on Sunday (Closed Mondays)