Truth be told, I had never heard of Pierre Hermé until Catherine, Katherine and I went to see the talk on pâtisserie (see my first posting) at the American Library and Dorrie Greenspan waxed poetic about his Ispahan. According to Dorrie's blog, the Ispahan - an exotic combo of rose, raspberry and litchi - is an Hermes invention. For my money, the mayor of Paris should replace the statue of Benjamin Franklin - "Inventor" - in the 16eme with one of Pierre Hermé. I mean, bifocals are nifty, but compared with a rose-raspberry-litchi ménage à trois? S'il vous plait.
Dorrie writes that every few weeks Hermé works his selection around a particular "fetish." His current fetish is clearly the Ispahan flavor trio itself. There's a basic Ispahan (a large rose macaron sandwiching litchi, raspberries and raspberry cream), an Ispahan Tart, an "ultimate Ispahan" in a glass, and my choice -- adopted New Yorker that I am -- the Ispahan cheesecake.
I trot home, place the bag on the kitchen table, rush over to my daughter's school to pick her up, rush back to photograph, and... the whole thing has melted into a soggy mess. I don't want to denigrate Mr. Hermé or his staff on my first trip, but they might have warned me the cheesecake should go RIGHT into the refrigerator. Forgive today's photograph... I was afraid that if I "undressed" the cake it would just run all over the plate.
One bite and all is forgiven. The layers (rasberry topping, vanilla "cheesecake", rose-litchi gelee, a rose-raspberry creme, and unusual-for-Paris graham cracker crust), topped with a triangle of white chocolate and a rose petal, comprise what Barbra Streisand calls in The Mirror Has Two Faces the "perfect bite." The combo is a bit too "flowery" for Jeff, who instead happily munches the fallback macarons I got him (he pronounces them "nice and thick... like little burgers"). So lucky me, I get the whole cheesecake to myself. Actually, I must stop typing now and completely focus on my "fetish." Oh Pierre, I do care!