Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pastry Interlude

Here are some photos of some of the many pastries we've eaten, or just gazed upon in lucious window displays, that I'm not necessarily able to describe or that don't specifically fit into a particular cuisine or specialty, but that I still want to share.

Peach tart.
Canele. These were all over Paris, and I always wanted to try them but didn't. They come in a large size, and then this 3-bite size. I thought it was going to be a glazed pound cake. It's not - it's very soft and eggy inside, almost like a custard. I usually like custard, but I didn't care for this. The glaze did not have a flavor of it's own, and in fact wasn't even particularly sweet. But it is interesting, and worth trying since they seem to be so ubiquitous in French bakeries.

This was my favorite of all the pastries we had. It was an amazing shortbread crust, filled with a
thick rich dark chocolate ganache, topped with a light milk chocolate mousse, and garnished with
fresh juicy raspberries and a raspberry glaze. See detail below.

Detail of chocolate raspberry tart from above.

Window display at the same patisserie where we got the chocolate raspberry tart.

Other half of the same window display as above.

I'm not sure what all was inside this, but those are meringues layered vertically around the perimeter,
with chocolate cookie disks fanned out around hte top and filled with fresh pears. It has to be delicious.
I don't know quite how they made these, and quite how they would taste, but it looks like it's pastry
stuffed with bread. Seems like a good idea? I love the technique and how it looks.

This is actaully an ice cream centerpiece. It was in a freezer case at the patisserie and I thought it was so incredibly creative albeit rather impractical. You wouldn't get to enjoy it very for very long as a decoration unless your dining room table has a glass freezer case on top. But what a fun way to make an ice cream and fruit dish.

Okay, so not technically pastry, this gelato still qualifies as part of the over-the-top delicious desserts
we engaged in. This was one of our favorite combinations - chestnut and chocolate. This was also one of
the larger scoops we were ever served (though the scoops got larger and the prices got lower the further
we went into Italy.... this chesnut was obviously still in France.

Apple tart with almond topping.

Sicilian cannoli from the Farmer's Market, the guy who made it stuffed the shells in front of us.

Sicilian pannetone. 

Tart with a custard filling and pears and peaches, topped with almonds.
Walnut and caramel tart.
Will chose this while I watched the luggage, so I didn't even see what it was called. We
thought it was going to have a custard filling, but it was actually cream and it was incredible.
It was like a genoise cake stuffed with rum cream, and the top layer was light and a bit
crunchy and then the center was cool and sweet.
An assortment of cookies from an Veronese bakery. I wanted to just get three, but they sell by weight
and she kept telling me, "just choose one more" and then put it on the scale and said "just two more!" Okay.
The striped one on the left was a puff pastry with an apricot jam. The donut shaped one was just puff pastry
(but nothing is ever wrong with that!) as was the one on the far left with sprinkles, but it was frosted with a set
meringue. At the top left is a pine nut cookie which I after the exterior crunch and nuttiness, was a rich
butter cookie inside. The powdered sugar one on the left is amaretto - but it wasn't a crunchy amaretti,
it was a rich, chewy marzipan with amaretto. The two filled ones at the top right were my favorite, and they
weren't ones I would have picked on my own, they were the two the bakery lady recommended as her
favorites. The chocolate one is - chocolate! - and the white heart shaped one was almond. The cookies look
like they would be crispy meringues but they were much better in my opinion, a bit crispy and a
bit chewy. Finally, the little filled one was chocolate-hazelnut.
This was a specialty from Trieste, where the pretzel shape is seen all over in many types of foods. This was a flakey pastry stuffed with a fruitcake filling of candied fruit like orange peel, rum, pine nuts, hazelnuts, etc. It was all the flavors the people who don't like fruitcake don't like, and it was actually even a bit strong for me - someone who does like fruitcake. I wasn't crazy about it, which was too bad, because it was very expensive.
Triesten fruitcake cross-section.

Cute cupcakes from Firenze... I wasn't sure if they would be more cookie or more cake, but they were like cupcakes coated in yummy granular sugar and filled with frosting: one was lemon, and the other was raspberry and chocolate.
Apple Chocolate-Chip sweet bread from our last morning in Rome.

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