And you thought that I was finished with Pierre Hermé….
In my previous entry, I wrote about….
“The window display at the boutique featured one and only one thing, some kind of a cream cake sandwiched and layered with thin wafers of pastry.
No macarons in sight?! Could there be a creation more delish at Pierre Hermé than its world-famous macarons?”
The answer is between a maybe and a yes.
Presenting the Millefeuille Infiniment Vanille!
A millefeuille, which means ‘thousand-leaf’, is a French pastry made up of alternating layers of puff pastry and pastry cream. I’ve tried a millefeuille just once prior to having The One at Pierre Hermé, at one of the branches of a French patisserie called Paul in Covent Garden, London. It was cloying and dense, almost like a sweet tart and hardly befitting the ‘thousand-leaf’ description. The minute I entered the Pierre Hermé boutique, I was greeted with blocks and blocks of millefeuille in different flavours such as vanilla, caramel and raspberry. A slice was priced at a hefty €6.20 and I was inclined to spend freely on what I came for, the macarons.
Two things changed my mind. The customers before me were wiping out the millefeuilles like they cost next to nothing. And on closer inspection, the wafer-thin layers of puff pastry looked so crisp, compared to that rock from Paul, that I figured I had to sink my teeth into one!
Just when I made up my mind, the customer before me took the last piece on the counter and I was devastated. I offered a tentative ‘Do you have more of those (badly pronounced) vanilla millefeuilles?‘ when it was my turn, and thank goodness, there were more to be plated out on the counter! I got us a slice of the pastry, half-hoping that it would taste bad so I wouldn’t regret getting just one, and half-hoping that it would blow my socks off.
Back in the hotel room, we started the afternoon tea session with a grand opening of the box that contains the millefeuille, followed by a rather heartbreaking moment when I squashed the pastry with my clumsy slicing to split it into five portions. I quivered with excitement when I heard the knife cut through the top layers of pastry, as everyone watched in eager anticipation.
It tasted as good as it sounded. The caramelised puff pastry was incredibly thin, crispy, light and buttery without being the least bit oily; it was single-handedly the best pastry I have ever had and that I think I will ever have. The Madagascar vanilla mascarpone cream was absolutely divine – creamy, so light with a perfect touch of sweetness. The huge dollops of cream sandwiched between the puff pastry layers did not make us gag (even my mum, who abhors cream was dreaming about it a couple of days later). You know how light the millefeuille is when you can’t pierce through it without squeezing the cream out of the neat layers!
I am still kicking myself for not getting more slices; as it turns out, the Pierre Hermé counter in London only carries macarons and chocolates!!! I’ve crowned this millefeuille as my official birthday cake must-have, and it seems that I have to return to Paris on one of my birthdays to make that happen! Meanwhile, I shall pray really hard for Pierre Hermé to bring it to Selfridges & Co., so I can satisfy my cravings whenever. Even if he doesn’t, I’m happy to hop on the Eurostar back to the city that I don’t really like, just to get one of those.