When it comes to French pastry, Pierre Herme is almost like a household name. I’d mentioned him countless times on this blog and I’m sure some of you guys would already know that I am quite a fan of his works, especially the art of macaron making, which he revolutionised with innovative combinations of flavours and the use of exotic ingredients some totally unheard of, sometimes to the point of the unimaginable under his “Signature“, “Fetish” and in more recent years, his “Jardin” series. But during our most recent trip to Tokyo, we’d decided to go back to the traditions and “re-discover” the French classics. Read on to see how Pierre Herme fares!
Summer is definitely in full swing now with the heat. Nothing better to beat the heat wave with a refreshing and cooling dessert. Couple of years back, I’d made renowned Japanese patissier Hidemi Sugino’s “Tartlette au Mangue at Fruit de la Passion” which he named “Tahiti タヒチ” and the flavours remain vivid in my mind. Mango and passionfruit are a match made in heaven afterall. It inspired me to create a chilled dessert which marries these two delicious tropical fruits, my Mango and Passionfruit Yoghurt Pudding.
Diner en Blanc‘s first appearance in Asia ended with a blast, owing to the much reported local-food-bloggers-uninvited-and-local-food-disallowed saga. The whole fiasco went completely viral and took a life of its own to bring about much talk, as well as publicity on it over the last week or so. Extensive coverage all over social media through Facebook, as well as various high profile blogs like Mr Brown and ieatishootipost. There was a lot of discussion over Diner en Blanc’s initial reaction to local delights like tau huay and soon kueh, rousing much sentiments, mostly deeming the event as snotty, poncy and pretentious. It went all high drama when the PR company in-charge of the event went on to “disengage themselves” just barely before the day of the event itself, citing a “misalignment of perspectives” with the local organisers. Some bloggers decided to play devil’s advocate and questioned the blogger in question‘s share of responsibility leading to the whole social media fiasco. On the whole, it received a lot of media coverage, IMO a lot more than what it should and normally would, both locally and abroad, with “no-so-honorable mentions” from WSJ and AFP. The whole saga was meant to be called to a halt with a coverage on ieatishootipost’s lunch interview with DeB’s founders as well as an official statement addressed “Dear Singapore” on DeB Singapore’s website. Well that was after its facebook page was taken down amidst the outpour of criticisms and mobbing by local netizens. So has the saga really ended? Meanwhile, the DnB fiasco also sparked off several other events which were “coincidentally” scheduled on 30 Aug 2012, when Diner en Blanc was slated to commence in a “secret location” which turned out to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Who would have guessed… Anyway, spin offs like SuperWhite, Makan Day took place alongside Diner en Blanc, and so did our MAKE AND EAT TAU HUAY DAY!
Haven’t made macarons in quite a while now. I think I need to make it a point to go through it periodically. Macs are so temperamental and finicky that one can never be really sure he’s gotten them right. Going feetless, erupted tops, burnt shells, soggy bottoms are just some of the ways they would throw tantrums and get back at us in “silent protest” for the neglect and being all assuming with the “if you think you know me, well you don’t!” So drama huh? Well… ask a macaron maker and I’m pretty sure that he would have his own version of “Tales of Mac Macabre” to tell.
This “summer” brought us a guest and boy o’ boy did she appear in all pomp and circumstance fanfare! Donned in a fiery sanguine number, all so thinly cladded, only to reveal her succulent, creamy bosoms in brilliant sunset yellow, alluringly seductive and inviting for one to sink his teeth in, to draw upon all her nectary essence and suck the very bone marrow out of her life. No, I’m not about to embark in some B-grade erotic horror flick, but indeed the taste and textures of Ai Wen Mangoes AWM 爱文芒果 from Taiwan can most certainly be described as being orgasmic, probably something which many of you out there have not experienced for a rather long time. *chuckles*
My virginal concurrence with AWM dated many years back at a dessert parlour in Taipei which boasted to serve 挫冰 shaved ice topped with chunky morsels of it. And it was not just any AWM, but the crème à la crème ones grown in 玉井 Yujing area from 台南县 Tainan County. One mouthful and I was sold!!! Unlike the other asian mango varieties we had back then, the textures of AWM was something which I’d not encountered. The flesh was creamy yet oddly, was also imbued with a bouncy gelatinous like texture, so you can imagine the
foreplay interplay with the tastebuds! The experience was so surreal as its almost like eating fruit jelly. It was also on the dot on the Brix scale with perfectly controlled sugar levels. And the best part was, unlike many other versions available elsewhere, no condensed/evaporated milk or mango puree/concentrate/syrup was added. All naturel! Subsequent trips to Taiwan were all in the “wrong” time of the year and did not coincidence with AWM season. So you can imagine the excitement when I chanced upon them again recently and quickly snapped up half a dozen first. A few were eaten the first moments after reaching home with them. A reprise of fond memories. But what better way to glorify their magnificence than to encapsulate all of its essence in one of the creations by the great Japanese patissier 杉野英実 Hidemi Sugino, Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which he aptly named Tahiti タヒチ.