I've covered choux many times. For those in need of a recap, choux is a delicate, airy French pastry, commonly filled with cream. Choux usually just means "cream puff." And what son-of-a-bitch doesn't love a good cream puff?
There is a recent development on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that is worth going into. Not long ago, a new cream puff parlour opened -- Barachou, on Amsterdam near 82nd Street. It's a hip, stylish little parlour opened by a former banker (presumably she rightfully found her job in banking meaningless). According to the Times, "her little pastries, made on the premises by a Parisian baker, have finesse, delicacy and panache." I sampled an original and pistachio choux, and they were good. The cream was a straight-up whipped cream. This got me thinking, because sometimes choux is filled with a blended cream and custard concoction.
Just a few blocks away on Broadway, Beard Papa's has been churning out choux for years. This lovable little choux shoppe started in Osaka, Japan, when an artisinal baker, Beard Papa, "decided to make a pastry as fluffy and lovable as his beard." He decided on cream puffs, and perfected his choux pastry, and then "he proceeded to make the perfect filling, made with a mixture of whipped and vanilla custard cream." YOU SEE? Beard Papa uses whipped cream and custard cream! The question becomes: is this a Japanese bastardization? Or, were the French also mixing whipped cream and custard cream? Why does Barachou only use whipped cream? These are important questions.
Upper West Side
Upper West Side