Award winning pastry chef and former mastermind behind the dessert menu at Daniel, Dominique Ansel creates as close to Parisian perfection in the pastry department as I have tasted since returning home. Not too often do I get a hankering for a sweet, bready treat, and I couldn’t go a day without something bakery-inspired in Paris. I blame it on the smell, or lack there-of. In New York, my daily commute is met with the scent of garbage. In Paris it smelled like bread. It always smelled like bread.
An array of pastry items appeared in the office. As is custom, a knife came out and soon enough the individual assortment of treats had been divvied up for a royal sampling. My favorite of the exquisitely rich and buttery arrangement was the DKA, a flakey and light croissant-like dough with a rich caramelized exterior.
The Choco Soft Bun, a traditional eggy brioche roll studded with pearls of sugar and featuring a chocolate ganache center, was an easy crowd pleaser, but not one I needed seconds of. I can imagine after a long night though, this would be key.
The Choquettes are cute in their miniature proportions, but I was never one for these frenchy donut-hole delights.
The Cinnamon Palmier was stupefying, kept me coming back in for pull after pull. The butter was oh so palatable, and the cinnamon speckles provided playful contrast. Something about this palmier tasted mysterious as in “how in god’s name have I been living without you, oh fair maiden of the pastry kingdom?”
New York is no Paris when it comes to bakeries, but every now and then a baker like Ansel opens up his little slice of Paris in this city, and I remember that semester I spent eating abroad like it was yesterday. Food has that power.