Mad for Ispahan at Pierre Hermé
Monday, February 13, 2012

Pierre Hermé recently came out with a new line of pastries celebrating one of his signature creations, Ispahan (a raspberry, rose and litchi macaron). The red from the raspberry and pink from the rose make these pastries perfect for Valentine’s Day. Over the past week, I tried 4 of his new Ispahan creations. Gotta try them while you can, who knows how long they’ll be available for!

Since I started work, I began taking the bus much more often and I’ve discovered how much easier it is to travel by bus if there is one. You don’t have to walk up and down stairs and you can actually breathe! I recently discovered that there’s a bus that takes me directly from my home to the Pierre Hermé boutique on Bonaparte. And so I made 2 trips this past week.

Here’s what I’ve had from Pierre Hermé over the past 2 months. You can tell by the difference in lighting that I enjoyed these on separate occasions.

Désiré. A lemon mousse surrounds a strawberry and banana compote and a sponge cake brushed with lemon syrup. All of this sits on top of a butter cookie. The top is decorated with wild strawberries fraises des bois. The first time I tasted these strawberries were in France. They pack more flavour in one tiny pinky-sized fruit than a California strawberry the size of your palm.

2000 Feuilles. This is my favourite mille-feuille that you can get to-go. From the bottom, it's puff pastry, praliné cream, a layer of chocolate, praliné, feuilletee and hazelnuts, more praliné cream, puff pastry, and even more praliné cream, and the final top layer of puff pastry. Make sure you share this pastry though, it's quite heavy.

Clockwise from the red macaron: Ispahan, Les Jardins, Infiniment Caramel, and Crème Brûlée. My all-time favourite is still the caramel. I find that the macaron shell for the caramel one is slightly different from the others; it's got a little bit of chew. I wonder what the difference is.

Here's a detailed look at each macaron. Les Jardins is a lime and red pepper buttercream with a dried raspberry in the centre. Infiniment caramel has an addicting toasty, salted caramel buttercream. Ispahan has a light rose and litchi buttercream with dried raspberries. Crème Brûlée is filled with a vanilla custard buttercream that is studded with vanilla seeds and crunchy bits of caramel.

Tarte aux pomme et à l’orange. This one was my least favourite of the pastries featured on this post. The tart was filled with an apple and orange compote and covered with a poppyseed streusel. It wasn't very exciting and I found it a little bit dry and the streusel topping was not crunchy (probably due to moisture of the compote). It would make for a nice breakfast pastry.

Surprise Ispahan. The packaging concept is quite cute. It's a crunchy meringue shell surrounding a rose buttercream, litchi, and raspberry compote. It taste very much like the original Ispahan macaron pastry except that I found the meringue shell a bit sandy in texture which I didn't like as much. The cream was light and very refreshing though.

Cheesecake Ispahan. From the base is a buttery shortbread cookie base, then a thin layer of sponge cake, a raspberry and litchi compote, rose and raspberry cheesecake, more raspberry compote, more cheesecake, and finally raspberry jelly. The flavours of this cake were good. The only drawback was the texture of the cheesecake filling. It was too soft, almost like a mousse. I much prefer my cheesecakes to have more body, like new-york style.

Tarte Ispahan. The tart is filled with a rose almond cream, raspberry compote, and decorated with cubes of litchi jelly and fresh raspberries. I liked the cubes of litchi jelly, and it's also very pretty. But I'm not sure what else to say other than that it tastes like Ispahan. After trying a couple tarts, my favourite one is still his classic Tarte Infiniment Vanille.

Finally, the Mille-feuille Ispahan that I've been trying to get my hands on since it's come out. The last two times I visited the shop, they were all sold out! I went today and got the second last one, phew. But it was worth that third trip. This is definitely my favourite Ispahan pastry. It's much lighter than his classic 2000-feuille, you can actually eat the whole pastry. Between the layers of puff pastry is a rose buttercream, and in replace of the centre piece of puff pastry is a rose and litchi compote surrounded by two fine layers of sponge cake.


One Glorious Comment
  • Jeff
    February 22, 2012
    I tried Pierre Herme macarons yesterday! Best I've ever had. I quite liked the mogador, as well as the salted caramel and blackcurrant. Didn't have the ispahan in London. :(