Friday, June 04, 2004
As an intrepid culinary adventurer, I am always pleasantly surprised to discover new gourmet specialty shops. While in New York last week, I stumbled on a most "Japanese" style pastry shop. I say this because the brand name makes no sense in English and the logo is awfully cute. Let me introduce you to--Beard Papa's Fresh 'n Natural Cream Puffs
While they have just opened their first US shop, since 1997 the oddly named Beard Papa has been innovating that French classic, the cream puff in Japan. A cream puff is a hollow puff made of choux pastry and usually filled with sweetened whipped cream or custard. A choux pastry is really one of those great chemistry experiments in the kitchen. The instructions sound like a cruel joke to be played on a novice baker, but it actually is fairly easy to accomplish. The dough is a combination of boiling water, butter, flour and eggs, combined over the heat into a sticky pasty mess that when baked turns into a light and crispy pastry that just begs to be filled with something yummy.
So along comes Beard Papa making fresh cream puffs to order, and filling them with a combination of custard and whipped cream that is just too delicious for words. They claim that their cream puffs are in fact a two-layer shell, the inner shell being choux pastry and the outer shell being pie crust which makes them so perfectly crispy and light. The other thing that makes them so unique is the flavoring. In addition to vanilla, they serve a macha or green tea flavored cream puff. Cream puffs are all they do and they do them very well. After devouring one, I seriously hope they open more shops, especially one very near me.
Move over Krispy Kreme!
New York, NY