Category: Pastry Reviews
A good 30 minute walk from my apartment in Saint Germain, I knew at least one of my three Stohrer purchases wasn’t going to make it home intact. So I grabbed at table at Café Richard, ordered a petit déjeuner, and once finished, used my croissant plate to stage shots of the pastries I’d picked up. The others will be featured another day, but this tartlette aux fraises was the first.
The strawberries themselves were fairly fresh, and they had a nice amount of sweetness, without being overdone. The crème was just “eh”, and it seemed to be there more as a matter of course than as something to be enjoyed on its own merits. But the crust was what got me. Totally weird – but kind of in a good way…
It was by no means a conventional tarte crust (an upcoming review on Laduree’s tarte citron will highlight what that entails). It was actually closer to a sugar cookie: chewy, moist and with the grain and density of . . . a cookie. There was just no escaping the cookieness of it all. Very tasty, even if somewhere the French pastry Gods are weeping at its culinary blasphemy.
When in the mood for a strawberry tarte, this is an off-beat though reasonable choice. Bon appetit.
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I only wish that the day-glow pink outer layer held up on the way home, but this is a pastry so delicate that even a funny look in its direction could make it collapse. So I’ll consider myself lucky I only lost a bit (note my server’s thumbprint, too)…
Overlooking its too-delicate constitution, Dalloyau definitely surprised me with the Mirifique (French for “fabulous”). Tearing into it, I expected the usual mélange of flavored crèmes, cakes and sablés. Wrong.
While there’s certainly plenty of crème in and atop it, and even some chocolaty “biscuit” goodness at the base, the core of the Mirifique is a cone of dark chocolate filled with what can best be described as a superb strawberry smoothie.
What I found rather strange though was the quality of the chocolate cone itself. It was far more than was either necessary or appropriate – unnecessary in the sense that the crème and strawberry concoction were far too dominant to tease out the chocolate’s subtleties (the only reason I could is that I separated the chocolate out for analysis after a few bites) and inappropriate in the sense that a more obvious, blunt chocolate would have delivered the chocolate intensity that its broader flavor profile obscured. Basically, I’d love a bar of the stuff, but Dalloyau needn’t be so shy about dumbing-down the chocolate they put in certain pastries.
I can’t really say that the Mirifique was actually mirifique at all. Billed as “the pastry you can drink”, there is a certain novelty to it, and the strawberry liquid is quite delicious, but, again, so is a strawberry smoothie. The pastry is otherwise bland and, in regard to the chocolate, a bit overthought. When in Dalloyau, admire the pretty in pink Mirifique, but keep browsing.
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Certainly among the most eye-catching pieces in Hermé’s case, Désiré seems to be a can’t-miss selection. So for many first-time customers, it’s definitely one to Désiré and then acheter for 6.60 Euros.
PH’s display tag describes this creation from the bottom up, which conincidentally is mostly how the pastry’s quality progresses from excellence on down…
The breton sablé base is phenomenal! Imagine if shortbread weren’t its usual boring self and was instead magic. Enough said. The lemon crème atop it . . . well-executed texturally, but not truly mindblowing on that front or in terms of flavor. Yet the strawberry-banana compote band in the middle is delicious and what really brings the Désiré together. What remains is the gelled lemon “glaze”, which is almost purely decorative, and then the wild strawberries, which were not totally ripe . . . and with flavor to match. If only they were in-season, this patisserie would be, if nothing else, an aesthetic delight.
If you happen to love sablé and all-things strawberry-banana, this is one to get. For more casual pastry conoisseurs, there’s a city full of options, and you won’t be missing-out when you pass on the Désiré.
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