Paris is the City of Lights. Of high fashion, high heels, and high culture. Architecture, beauty, history.
It was never my goal to come here and wear out the soles of my shoes in single-minded pursuit of cream puffs, chocolate, and caramel. And yet, once on the cobblestone Parisian streets, I became laserlike in my focus on butter and sugar, unswerving in my devotion to my family's next sweet treat.
And neither my sons nor my husband stopped me. Haven't you seen Intervention? It's not like they couldn't.
I also blame Michael Steinberger, a journalist whose new book Au Revoir to All That (Bloomsbury, 2009) describes one particular pastry -- the 2000 feuilles -- in such gorgeous detail that I threatened to hurl myself into the Seine if I didn't get my hands on one. The first evening, we arrived at the patisserie Pierre Hermé too late, and they'd already sold out. Zut!
We had to choose alternatives, which elicited few complaints from my fellow travelers:
Above photo, from top right (clockwise). Alex's choice: the Ispahan, a rose-flavored macaron cookie (not be to confused with American macaroons) with fresh raspberries, litchis, and rose petal cream.
Bottom left (in clear bag). My (temporary, alternate) choice: pistache & griottine macarons, vanilla cookies filled with pistachio and cinnamon cream, studded with brandied Morello cherries.
The next day, eureka! We got to Pierre Hermé earlier, and bought not one, but two 2000 feuilles, which, I suppose, means we got 4000 feuilles, or 1000 feuilles for each of us. That's a lot of feuilles.
Top left. My new obsession, Colin's favorite pastry of the trip, and Michael Steinberger's passion: the 2000 feuilles: caramelized puff pastry, crushed hazelnuts, and praline mousseline cream.