I’m going to Paris this summer and I can’t wait. The sights, the streets, the shopping…and the food. Oh the food. There is nothing like eating in France. You can cook the same recipes here in the US, but the ingredients just aren’t the same. Sometimes, though, when I am lucky, I taste something that really reminds me of Paris.
Like every single thing that I ate at Dominique Ansel Bakery. This tiny bakery, with a few tables and backyard garden, is the namesake of the baker who made his name with Daniel Boulud. He is known for his rich, authentic Parisian pastries and delicious desserts. He is also known for his croissant-doughnut mashup called the cronut, but I didn’t wake up early enough to snag one of those.
In fact, lots of his pastries run out early in the day, so set the alarm clock if you have your heart set on something particular. Don’t worry, the bakery sells made to order madeleines throughout the day.
Frankly, this is wonderful. Airy meringue sandwiching rich pastry cream, tart blackberries, and some concentrated syrup so sweet and jammy that it is a pure burst of summer. This is light but very sweet. Elegant and fulfilling, ideal after a rich lunch.
Flourless chocolate cookie
This is just an excuse to eat a personal sized cake. Dense and fudgy with gooey chocolate chips melting even at room temperature. It’s sweet, but not overly so. It has a warm, deep flavor that only comes from truly high quality chocolate. It’s decadent but not too much to handle on your own.
Do you like bread pudding? If you do, then you will love this canele. The thickly burnished crust is sugary but not just sweet – it also has a slightly bitter edge that makes it really complex and interesting.
The interior is eggy and soft, almost melting in the mouth in contrast to the stiff outer crust. It is heady with vanilla and the faint backnote of rum. It isn’t overtly alcoholic tasting or heavy - it’s light and custardy, a wonderful blend of different tastes and textures. This is better than many caneles I have had in Paris and was the hit of my visit.
Dominique Ansel is a slice of Paris right in Soho. It is fairly priced (though not cheap) and the pastries are just perfect. I would absolutely go back, and plan to.
It might just hold me over till summer vacation.