Why do my profiteroles smell of roast chicken?

5th October 2013, Beauvais, Oise, Picardy

Yes, that’s right, back to Picardy. A month of Parisian life clearly hasn’t been enough to cure me of my longing for impenetrable rural accents, deserted train stations and the funny looks you get when you take your camera out. Especially when it’s to take a photo of a cake.

The whole town appears to close 12pm-2pm (including the donut man, who had left a sign on his cart saying ‘back at 3pm’ (in French, of course!)), and having eaten my lunch and done several laps around the cathedral (that being shut as well), I was still a bit peckish and quite chilly (going up North, you see…).

Once again, I was spoilt for choice. Part of the problem is that pâtisseries are so much cheaper outside of Paris, so there is the temptation to stock up for the next few days. I decided, however, to be restrained. After a complicated conversation in which I attempted to establish what a ‘Pudding’ was (chocolate brownie: it bore no resemblance whatsoever to a spotted Dick or other such English steamed pudding!), I settled on the profiterole tart. Yep, profiteroles come in tarts now.

Once again, that crumbly, biscuity shortcrust pastry case, once again with slightly nondescript cake filling (must be a standard French pâtisserie thing. Well, standard in the Oise, at least), this time topped with a layer of crème patissière, three profiteroles, a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a few scattered flaked almonds.

'Tartelette aux profiteroles' Beauvais - 05/10/13

‘Tartelette aux profiteroles’
Beauvais – 05/10/13

I did wonder after I’d bought it if I’d made a mistake, because profiteroles can be a bit disappointing in my experience, especially when they’re full of whipped cream rather than crème patissière, but these were really good. The choux pastry was nice and light, and crispy but not too crispy, and no claggy aftertaste. The crème patissière was very good as well: nice and thick, slightly vanilla-y and plenty of it! The layer on top of the tart was good for keeping the base moist too (because as you’ve probably guessed, this was once again a deconstruct-to-eat job, with me having to remove the profiteroles and munch them separately (otherwise I had visions of them rolling down the street). The chocolatey sauce was a bit naff, clearly not real chocolate and just tasting like bottled chocolate sauce, but fortunately there wasn’t enough of it to spoil the taste of anything else. As for the almonds, well, not sure why they were there: I kind of forgot about them until I looked at the photo! Bonus points for the idea of a profiterole tart though.

And the title of this post? Well, Beauvais has a lot of rôtisserie chicken places, and the smell appears to have pervaded the whole town. At least, I think that’s what the smell was…

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