Although we'd all love to go to Paris for many reasons, one reason Louis la Vache loves Paris is because of the fabulous pâtisseries that can be found there. Alas, we may not be able to go to Paris at the moment, but San Francisco Bay Area residents can step into a little corner of Paris by visiting Patisserie Philippe at 655 Townsend Street in The City. This little corner of la belle France is adjacent to the burgeoning SOMA Mission Bay development. (SOMA = South of Market Street for you Aüslanders - to throw a bit of allemand into the mix here!)
The owner of the eponymous Pâtisserie Philippe is Philippe Delarue. (The name translates as "of the street.") Philippe was born and schooled in Le Mans. He did an apprenticeship first in cooking, then in pâtisserie. From Le Mans, he went to Paris where he worked at the world-famous Établissement Lenôtre.
In French baking, there is a distinction between boulangeries and pâtisseries, and this distinction is important in understanding Philippe's self-appointed mission. A boulangerie typically emphasizes bread and related products, with very little emphasis on pâtisserie. Boulangeries that also offer pâtisserie typically offer pâtisserie rustique. A Bay Area example of this is Pascal Rigo's Boulangerie on Pine Street just off Fillmore in San Francisco.
On the other hand is the pâtisserie, which focuses on artisan pastry making, placing very little emphasis on bread. There is a practical reason for this: boulangerie requires one skill set; pâtisserie another. Thus at Pâtisserie Philippe, you will find baguettes, but very few other bread items. Instead, just as if you had walked into Gérard Mulot in the shadows of Saint-Sulpice in the VI ème arrondissement of Paris, at Pâtisserie Philippe you will find displays of some of the most beautiful pâtisserie you can imagine. And best of all, Philippe's pâtisserie tastes as wonderful as it looks!
Philippe, having a strong wanderlust, realized that as a maître pâtissiere with experience at Lenôtre on his résumé, he could find work anywhere in the world. From Paris, he went to Londres, Montreal, Florida, New York City, Boston and New Orleans before landing in San Francisco. About San Francisco, Philippe says, "I love it here. The people, the city, the weather, the scenery. I love everything about The City."
When he moved here seven years ago, Philippe worked at Pascal Rigo's Boulangerie where, most often, he found himself making macarons. There he realized "it was time to open my own shop as I knew i could offer to the San Franciscan something I didn't see in The City at the time: really truly French pastries, and the quality, not the quantity or mediocre pastries. I thrive on doing my best and keeping the quality and being always consistent. Probably my favorite thing to bake is macarons. You can be very creative and there are no limits." Philippe has just added a macaron avec cassis to his offerings. Louis la Vache attests to it's qualité!
Pâtisserie Philippe opened on le 26 mars 2007. Bay Area residents hungry for a little taste of France will be well-pleased by a visit to 655 Townsend Street!
Philippe was kind enough to share with us his recette for a popular morning treat at his shop: bostock. Bostock would remind nous américains of what we call "French toast."
Oven/four: 370º F/185º C
6 3/4" thick slices day-old Brioche loaf
Syrup (recette suivante
Almond crème (recette aussi suivante)
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1) Slice the day-old brioche loaf into slices about 3/4" thick.
2) Soak the slices in slightly-warmed syrup.
3) Spread the almond crème over one side of each of the syrup-soaked slices of brioche.
4) Next, cover the brioche with the sliced almonds.
5) Dust generously with powdered sugar.
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7) Place the slices on the baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Bostock is best enjoyed slightly warm.
Boil together 3 cups of water, 3 cups of sugar and add 1 Tablespoon Orange Blossom water.
4 oz. butter
4 oz. sugar
4 oz. almond meal
pinch of salt
2 whole eggs
2 Tablespoons corn starch
In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, almond meal, salt and cornstarch. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.