Pastry Heaven at Patrice Patissier (Montreal, Canada)
Chef and co-owner Patrice Demers is one of the prominent pastry chefs in Montreal. He became well known when he was the opening pastry chef for Les 400 Coups for three years and toiled in many other fine French restaurants prior to. He finally opened the doors to his own pâtisserie and cooking school in early spring 2014 with a team that included his wife, Sommelier and Director of Operations Marie-Josée Beaudoin and Jean-François Archambault. (Patrice and Marie-Josée Beaudoin hold weekly evening classes for pastry and wine.) The chef himself is sweet, mild-mannered with a quiet intelligence but excited when he talked to me about his pastries and boutique.
(Side note: My mind didn’t registered that I saw the chef years ago until I chatted with him that morning. Back in 2010 at StarChefs International Culinary Congress, I had seen him create his beautiful desserts when he was at Les 400 Coups. Small world.)
If you walk up to the display cases for the takeout area, they are classic French desserts that are slightly tweaked the way he likes it. Some are a bit American inspired in terms of flavors but it is certainly a French pastry.
The kitchen uses organic and local products such as milk and fresh fruits, homemade syrup and without artificial flavors. The pastries range in price from $2.75 to $10.
The shop is spacious, inviting and sophisticated. The open kitchen allows you to take a peek at the chefs working making these magnificent pastries through a window behind the main counter.
So how were these beauties? In two words, astonishingly good.
The Black Forest cake is a classic in regards to flavors but he changed it up by making it sleek and modern. The narrow rectangle of dense, fudge-y chocolate cake base that is gluten-free (since his customers are asking for more gluten-free pastries) made with almond flour and soaked in kirsch, layered with dark cherry gelée, fresh whipped cream and fresh halved cherries. It’s like eating a sophisticated chocolate cherry brownie and it’s best to eat it with a fork since that cake is like eating soft fudge. (This is a seasonal pastry since berries of all kinds are at its peak in Montreal.)
If there’s a must eat pastry (besides saying all of them), the choux à la crème, the flavor of that day was banana, chocolate, caramel. They are just absolutely delicious, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and filled with a deliciously airy cream. The choux at the boutique will be filled à la minute when you order them to prevent them from sitting in the glass counter and becoming soggy.
The strawberry and coconut eclair is the seasonal eclair of the moment and I adore how crunchy like the choux à la crème the eclair is and the super sweet strawberries and cloud-like coconut cream is. Swoon worthy.
The rhubarb tart is a classic. Not too thick, buttery tart encasing a thick, jammy, tart-sweet rhubarb mixture, lightened up with a quenelle of fresh whipped cream.
The cannelés and kouig aman are textbook perfect. The cannelés has the desirable thick, very dark caramelized crust with its custard interior when you bite through it hard. The kouig amann (there’s regular and one filled with banana and chocolate) were deliciously flaky, buttery and crunchy.
The nutty (gluten-free) buckwheat maple financier, which I saved for the next day was wonderful. I love financiers but they are very rarely well made. They almost never taste of beurre noisette (brown butter) and are always too soft and cake-y inside and out when they should be crunchy outside and moist inside. Patrice’s was perfection.
The blueberry scone is an oldie but goody. Wild, fresh blueberries whose flavors resonated through that buttery, fluffy, crumbly scone.
If you have a serious sweet tooth like mine and traveling in Montreal, get yourself to this boutique. You certainly can’t go wrong with any pastry served here.
To view photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE for the full photo set or view the gallery below: