A happy marriage of flaky, buttery croissant pastry and cinnamon spiced tarte aux pommes
“The apple tart is very French,” says Lola, lifting a delicate, flower-shaped pastry out of Comptoir Gourmand‘s dazzling display and lowering it into a cardboard box. “The apple flower—well, you can really see the relation,” she continues, holding it out for us to observe.
It is… like a napkin. A golden brown, intricately folded piece of napkin origami, concealing in its numerous layers a spoonful of spiced apple compote. Miraculously, as if this were a French take on Massimo Bottura’s famous ‘Oops I dropped the lemon tart’ dessert, a comb of wafer-thin apple slices is spread elegantly atop the compote, as if they too have been caught in the napkin’s folds.
“Our founder has been a baker from the age of 16. He takes his mum’s classical recipes, and changes them so they are his way,” Lola explains. “They are French, but I wouldn’t say they are French completely.” Beignets come stuffed with raspberry or pistachio; macarons in an array of decidedly un-French flavours; and the apple flower can best be described as a marriage between a croissant—the buttery, nutty, viennoiserie dough peeling and flaking in a way that precisely mimics the nominative flower—and tarte aux pommes.
“I love it. I love everything here,” Lola enthuses, gesturing toward the tarts and pastries. She recommends it as an afternoon treat; we’re happy convincing ourselves it’s breakfast material. After all, it is kind of a croissant. Just with apples in it. Either way, a spoonful of Neal’s Yard Dairy’s cool, citrusy, compote-loving crème fraiche would not go amiss.