Today, I participated in the first surgery where I actually played a pivotal role!!! In the morning, I watched the usual surgeries, also learning about some anaesthesia stuff. Then, I was gonna leave after lunch as I wanted to visit a few museums which were only open on weekday afternoons. But I was with one of the externs, who was alone that day as no other externs were around (all skiving!). So I stayed…and finally, before lunch around 2 pm, one of the chiefs asked me if I wanted to scrub up for the next operation! YAYYYY so I did. And it ended up being just me and one other intern doing the abdominoplasty. He even tried teaching me how to suture…but I couldn’t get it. I’m so addicted to the OT, felt so giddy afterwards! Headed to the Musée d’Orsay after school…thank god I got my MuséO so I didn’t have to line up, as the line for tickets was SUPER long.
After the Museum tour, I headed off to Champs Elysées for some Ladurée as it was the only pastry store open after 8:30 pm when I left the Museum. In fact, Ladurée is open till 11 pm :O I guess that’s what their swanky bar is for.
I got 2 pastries and a cannelé, which I ate on the metro home. Nothing special. In fact, Paul’s cannelé is better. The Ladurée one was kinda dry on the outside, and flavourless on the inside. Haven’t found one which can beat Paul’s rummy, moist one yet. However…the pastries were orgasmic. Ladurée is SO not overrated…
The Rose-Framboise Saint Honoré is probably the prettiest thing in the Ladurée pastry case. Considering that EVERYTHING in that case is pretty, that’s saying something. I was so happy it didn’t get too bumped up by the time I got home, even after jostling through crowded metros. The whole thing is pink and frilly, consisting of a huge mound of pink creme Chantilly (whipped cream), raspberries around the side, choux puffs filled with pastry cream and choux around the rim as well, rose pastry cream and raspberry gelée, all on a base of pâte feuilletée. It’s like a pretty ballerina demurely whispering “Eat me, eat me!”. The whipped cream was sufficiently airy and tasted like good whipped cream, unlike the version of Saint Honoré I had from LPdR.
I have to admit I was a bit scared of getting a Saint Honoré, given my terrible experience with LPdR’s one, but my Saint Honoré PTSD was cured with this. The pastry cream inside was smooth and had a light rose taste. The raspberries cut the creaminess of everything else. The gelée, finally, is the cherry-on-top – or rather in the middle. It is sweet but tart, smooth and complex, and added another dimension to the creamy parts of everything else. The only part that could’ve been improved was the base, which was a bit limp. But it’s not the main focus, so I let it go. The size was also perfect, not gigantic like the LPdR one. I loved this. I’d rather have two of these than one gigantic LPdR.
The tarte tatin is another work of wonder from Ladurée. It rests at the end of its vienoisserie section, although it’s more technically a pastry. I guess it’s the ugly duckling of the tarts, so it didn’t belong in the pastry case with all the white swans. Although it doesn’t look as pretty as the rest of its offerings, its taste is spectacular. The apples on top are coated with a caramel glaze with made the apples soft but firm, with a yielding bite. It’s almost like it’s preserved in sugar.
The next layer is like chunky apple sauce…with a bit of caramel taste seeping in from the top layer. This saucey center permeated through the puff pastry on the bottom, making it a bit wet, but that’s part of the tart tatin experience. I’ve found that Ladurée’s pâte feuilletée tends to be JUST baked and very light in colour, unlike the Pain de Sucre mille-feuille style of pâte feuilletée. I think I like my millefeuille’s bien cuit (well baked), but for something like a tarte tatin, baking it so brown would make the taste too overpowering. Also, somehow the just-baked look/feel/texture is more delicate and suits the style of Ladurée. The whole thing is very sticky and stuck to the paper. I wanted to just take the tart into my hands and bite into it and let the juicy apple caramel liquid drip down my chin…………but I held back myself and used a fork. It’s Ladurée after all.
Thanks to Ladurée, I’ll never look at these 2 common pastries the same way ever again. Given that they’re 2-3 times the price of normal patisseries, perhaps it’s better for my wallet that I can get these at every other patisserie on the street, at least in Paris. And better for my waistline that I can’t get them at every other bakery around the corner in Hong Kong. Soooo glad my Ladurée experiences have been awesome so far!