Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I Went to Japan and I Only Remember the Cream Puffs

Newsweek had an article this week about the trendy Beard Papa cream puff stores opening in fashionable cities across the US. The closest shop is in LA, so we're just going to have to hope that their franchising does well enough to expand up here.

I think that cream puffs are my favorite pastry. My mom used to bake them from scratch when I was little. I remember her carefully cutting off the tops with a serrated knife, pouring in the thick, homemade cream, and replacing the caps. So yummy.

I visited Japan about a dozen years ago, and while the historic and cultural tours were amazing, the cream puffs have a fond place in my heart. There was some kind of pastry chain store called Sizuya, and I made our group stop every time we saw one. I’m wondering if Beard Papa is a descendant of the older store, or if they're totally unrelated.

At Sizuya, you'd take a pair of decorated tongs and lift your selections onto a tidy tray, the entire process being cute, of course, since it was Japan. The cream puffs were individually wrapped in sealed packets, with a little air inside to cushion them, so I could throw a few into my backpack without worrying about squishing. Late at night in the ryokan (traditional hotel) – cream puff goodness!

I took one last puff home with me on the airplane, and was startled to see it mid-flight. With the air pressure change, the packet had inflated to double size, and I was afraid it would burst, sending sticky filling everywhere. Luckily, I managed to contain the damage and ate every bit.

Now I'm hungry.


lara said...

i can make cream puffs shaped like swans - they're very elegant when displayed on a plate covered in chocolate sauce, with a couple of raspberries and a mint sprig. of course, then you don't want to let anyone eat them because they look so pretty, but still, it's pretty cool. :)

Mayberry said...

Mmmmmmmmmm. Now I'm hungry too. Thanks for the delicious memory!

Bob said...

Now you got me looking for cream puff places in San Diego. Del Mar Fair had
great cream puffs but it ended July 4th

Lady M said...

I think we will have to make cream puffs one of these weekends!