I don’t exactly have dainty feet like macarons. Changing shoes to adapt to the seasons can have precarious consequences when you’re tall: just add up long and pointy toes with bouncing up the stairs in excitement with oversized shopping bags and it equals trouble.
Why the excitement? Let’s say that the anticipation of tasting the latest pastries from La Pâtisserie des Rêves had me flat out on the staircase at our local shopping centre, Parly 2, just outside Paris.
Are you all right? Gosh, that looked a nasty fall…” I gazed up at this concerned, gentille French lady as she offered her hand to help me up. I had only one thing on my mind: how did the pastry bag land? Was it on its side? Still upright? What had I done to a couple of the latest best pastries in Paris?
As I lay there like a misplaced gym student trying to do press-ups on the staircase, I found myself apologising to a line-up of disgruntled shoppers. I was blocking their way. “Don’t worry about me,” I stuttered, trying to find the most elegant way to pick up the bags as well as my legs. “I’m more worried about MES PÂTISSERIES!” Was that a weird reaction? They all looked at me strangely, like some sort of mad person.
Needless to say I was anxious at opening the pastry box on return home for teatime.
Thankfully, the lovely staff know how to take care of chef Philippe Conticini’s masterpieces: they had propped little logos in plastic to ensure the pastries would be kept intact in transit. Phew. Suddenly that knee started to throb.
La Pâtisserie des Rêves‘ latest seasonal treat is this pineapple and mango tart. I love roasted pineapple. It takes a while to prepare but it’s so worth it. Soft, roasted and thinly sliced exotic fruit nestle on top of a warming vanilla pastry cream and a crispy puff underneath makes it a pastry of textural dreams. Darjeeling was a great accompaniment for teatime, but if this was for dessert a chilled late harvest Gewürtzraminer wine would go down perfectly.
Yet another new pastry on the box is this vanilla and red fruit charlotte. It’s the lightest lime sponge encircled with Matcha green tea encasing a surprise base of crunchy biscuit for added texture, a vanilla pastry cream that balances the acidity of a raspberry mousse and red fruit compôte. These sophisticated layers are topped with a raspberry glaze and a mere whisper of golden lustre dust. Complex pastries like this are the kind I buy rather than make at home: after all, that’s what lazy gourmets do, right?
What would you drink to go with them? Black tea, green tea, white tea, red tea, fruit or herbal infusions? Coffee? Cold drinks? Hot chocolate? Oh, choices.
Speaking of teatime, I recommend what kind of tea or other drinks to serve with your afternoon French pâtisseries in my forthcoming new book, Teatime in Paris. In the meantime, I’m off to make some more choux pastries for dessert tonight. These pastries have inspired me again. It’s not for nothing that chef Conticini named his boutique, the Pâtisserie of Dreams…