Cherry Clafoutis at Blé Sucré
The hardest part of any visit to Blé Sucré is deciding what to order. Those famous madelines? A golden chausson aux pomme? Have them all, and, whatever you do, don't leave without a seasonal clafoutis. This is the Cherry Clafouti, which I picked up while it was cooling down on the counter, still a hint warm. A spoon, a napkin, a seat at one of the tables outside and it was gone in a minute. It's just as a clafoutis should be: custardy, comforting, scented with vanilla and sweet with whole cherries baked right into the batter.
Blé Sucré: 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris, France (map); 01 43 40 77 73
Fraîcheur D'été at Patisserie Pain de Sucre
The pastries at Pain de Sucre in the Marais are whimsical and almost dream-like, often pairing flavors one would not ordinarily think of. This Fraîcheur D'été couples a butter cookie base with a heart of apricot "pulp." The potent and pure apricot center is surrounded by almond custard and a jelly-esque cap of coriander and cream. Do you analyze or do you eat? Both! A delight for your mind and stomach.
Rhubarb Tart at Pâtisserie des Rêves
Pâtisserie des Rêves' claim to fame is a stunning Paris Brest. It's excellent, but then again, so is nearly everything else in this pâtisserie where each sweet creation is tucked under a bell jar like little treasures. Swing by during rhubarb season to score this Rhubarb Tart, large enough for two to share. There are thin strips of rhubarb, sliced with utmost precision, a silky rhubarb compote cooked down to intense wonder and one simply perfect and just buttery enough tart shell. And don't even get us started on the Tarte Tatin.
Rhubarb Escargot at Du Pain et Des Idées
At Du Pain et Des Idées they don't bake just one type of "escargot" but a whole collection of them. Think praline escargot! Pistachio escargot! Raisin escargot! But alas, my heart remains with this Rhubarb Escargot. Simple and elegant, the pastry contains seemingly millions upon millions of buttery-rich and flaky layers. The layers are wound up just tight enough with rhubarb that has been diced and cooked tender, then spun into each circle. Breakfast, anyone?