Matcha flan from White Pages patisserie, a bittersweet delight

vsSome people have very firm notions that nuclear power will save France from the energy crisis, or that a French team without Karim Benzema could not win the World Cup. Others have equally strong flan beliefs.

What is a good flan? The schools are clashing over this burning issue: supporters of a soft and creamy device, such as crème brûlée, on one side; advocates of a more solid, almost gelatinous texture on the other hand. Should the dough be broken or puffed? Some heretics completely dispense with it on the sides, bordering on the thin border with the distant. And if we ever agree on the texture, we can always argue about the taste: blue vanilla from Réunion, Tahiti or Madagascar? Would a flan containing praline, coffee or orange blossom still deserve its name?

The tension between the unsettling taste of matcha from Kyoto and the familiarity of French pastry creates an osmosis so perfect that we soon finished the part.

In France, the sacred homeland of flan, where you can find specimens to your taste almost everywhere, there is still a way to come across very good surprises. That day, in front of the minimalist shop front of the new Pages Blanches patisserie, boulevard de Courcelles, near Parc Monceau in Paris, it was first a daisy-shaped tartlet that caught our attention through the large bay windows. But once inside the immaculate white shop, the eye stops at a plate of identical and monochrome cakes, of a strong green that evokes a spring lawn.

The object of desire turns out to be a matcha flan, this very fine powder of ground green tea from Asia. The name of this patisserie, which opened in early 2022, White Pages, did not suggest anything of the sort, but the chef of the establishment, Kaori Akazawa, is Japanese. When we abandon the flower tart, we give in to the curiosity to taste this perfectly proportioned flan, plump but not too much, with the matcha forming a promising velvet coat on the upper part.

The White Pages bakery.

Mounted at one of the establishment’s wooden tables, we give a first stroke of the fork, which sinks without resistance. The cake should be placed to the side of the creamy ingredients, and its shortcrust pastry is remarkably delicate. In the mouth, the bitterness of the matcha powder shakes as expected. But the softness of the creamy interior immediately calms things down and brings the promised comfort. The shortcrust pastry comes as a reinforcement. The tension between the unsettling taste of matcha from Kyoto and the familiarity of French pastry creates an osmosis so perfect that we soon finished the part.

If we are still as ambivalent about the need for Karim Benzema in the French team, we come out with one certainty: this flan is one of the best we have ever tasted.

A quarter €5.50 (+ €2 on site), €22 per cake. 11 boulevard de Courcelles, Paris 8e. pagesblanchesparis.fr

also read Japan’s sweet treats

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