A Pastry Chef's Ode to Paris
Belinda Leong of San Francisco’s new B. Patisserie shares simple recipes that re-create her life in France.
Pastry chef Belinda Leong is known for her pedigree (Gary Danko, Manresa, Noma, Pierre Hermé) and for her kouign amann—a buttery, caramelized pastry from France’s Brittany region that resembles a puck-shaped croissant. Now that she’s opened B. Patisserie in San Francisco, customers have a new place to get their kouign amann fix. But Leong also uses her formidable technique to reinvent homespun desserts, such as a salt-flecked crémeux that’s like an intense chocolate pudding. Recipes like these are French in style, but American in spirit. “I want to re-create the life I had in Paris, when I worked at Pierre Hermé, and bring it back here,” Leong says.
“In France, there’s almond flour in everything—except clafoutis,” Leong says about the fruit dessert baked in batter. Bucking tradition, she includes the flour in her clafoutis to add custardy texture.
Crémeux (French for “creamy”) is a dense, soft, classic pudding that’s the new darling of many American pastry chefs. Leong gives her super-chocolaty version a salty edge.
Vanilla Ice Cream with Brown Butter Crumble
Brown butter, made by warming unsalted butter in a skillet until it is deeply golden, adds a wonderful nutty flavor to a chunky, streusel-like crumble. Sprinkle it on vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel sauces for outrageously good sundaes.
Lemon and Fresh Sorrel Sherbet
Leong started to incorporate wild greens and herbs into her desserts in 2009, during a foraging internship at the renowned Noma restaurant in Copenhagen. When sorrel’s in season, she uses the tart, lemony green to flavor her tangy sherbet, but mint, thyme and basil are also terrific.