There are times when healthy eating gets boring. All things in moderation, they say, even moderation. We all need a moment of excess; some of us need it daily. Occasionally, excess takes the form of a breathtaking sweet à la belle cuisine Française.
Two hundred years ago a great confectioner, Auguste Carême, built an awe-inspiring edible empire of temples and pyramids with marzipan, nougat and caramel. In a moment of dangerously high self-esteem, Carême proclaimed pastry "the highest form of architecture”. They're all gone now, eaten, crumbled, all Carême’s grandiose pièces montées (mounted pieces) save one: le croquemebouche
Few francophiles have seen much less tasted a croquembouche. This tower of cream-filled choux pastry is reserved for momentous occasions such as a wedding reception, a communion or a baptism. What makes is this stunning dessert so rare? I recently took the opportunity to find out at a Lenôtre pastry school in Paris.
Here are my notes....