Thursday, May 04, 2006
new york city : post 3
Cream Puffs in New York
Before heading to New York, I was curious about the current cream puff rage; so, I decided to investigate while I was there. With friends, I sought out cream puff purveyors in Manhattan and sampled their wares. If you want to do the cream puff taste test for yourself, the three shops I review are conveniently located in Greenwich Village and Chelsea.
My Beard Papa’s cream puff was decent but nothing to rave about. I felt that their reputation has unfortunately surpassed their puff. The choux paste was crunchy and the pastry cream filling generic. On the positive side, the bakery décor was funky and the staff pleasant. I credit Beard Papa’s for starting the cream puff sensation.
My cream puff at Choux Factory was slightly better than Beard Papa’s—better primarily because the vanilla cream filling had more flavour. Overall, the puff was simple in flavour and, I thought, a little too simple in presentation. The atmosphere was decent but the service rather poor.
Puff + Pao
The food at Puff and Pao, the newest cream puff purveyor in NYC, was hands down my favourite. With a light choux paste and freshly whipped vanilla cream, Puff and Pao does cream puff right. The interior of the bakery was comfortable and contemporary, and the service was friendly, diligent and incredibly knowledgeable. Puff and Pao also makes savoury paolitos, small Brazilian-style cheese breads, which were delicious.
These are my thoughts. Yet, if you are really fond of cream puffs, I encourage you to try making your own. They are not complicated to prepare, and the results will likely be at least as good if not better than what you can find in most shops. Follow instructions and use high-quality ingredients to get the best results.