It takes me everlastingly to go anyplace in Paris. It’s not the activity, or the strikes — which are nearly as dependable as the congregation chimes tolling the hours — or the climate, or the rough cobblestone roads. It’s the baked good shops: There are such a significant number of them, and I can’t shield myself from waiting before their windows. I’ve been ceased several times by seeing cakes and tarts, little baked goods everything being equal, cannelés cooked to a consumed sugar patina and brilliant macarons, obviously. I’m a simple stamp with regards to desserts, which is the reason it’s odd that in my decades-long wanderings I’ve halted for treats just once. What’s more, that time, they weren’t even in a patisserie.
The treats that called to me were distinctive to the point that despite the fact that they were on a back counter, I spotted them through an open entryway. They were made by Moko Hirayama, and they were in Mokonuts, the little, extra, breakfast-and-lunch-just eatery that she keeps running with her better half, Omar Koreitem, in the eleventh Arrondissement. Koreitem, whose first occupation out of culinary school was at the Michelin-featured eatery Daniel in New York, and whose cooking is impacted by the spots he has lived and worked — Lebanon, France, the United States and Britain — is accountable for everything appetizing, turning out exquisite dishes in a kitchen the extent of a van. Furthermore, Hirayama (who experienced childhood in Tokyo and San Francisco; attended a university in New York, where the couple met; and kept a blurb of a Pierre Hermé macaron on the mass of her office when she was a legal counselor) does all the heating of breads, tubby portion cakes, flaky organic product crostatas and those treats.
The treats are thick and stout, even pucklike; rocky and harsh around the edges; neither dainty nor absurdly huge. Some are smeared with chocolate; some have sesame seeds; all bear the characteristics of the dough puncher’s hands. It was the ones with chocolate that intrigued me most. As an American pastry specialist, I realized that the motivation for them probably been the great chocolate-chip treat, yet they were in no way like the standard thing. From their looks, I speculated they’d be great; I couldn’t have speculated that they’d transform into a reflection on the class.
I purchased a couple and snacked on them as I strolled around that evening. When I returned home, I wound up hauling the treats, turning them over in my grasp, focusing on their shading, breaking them fifty-fifty to check whether they snapped or bowed and tasting them as though I were passing judgment on them for a honor. They had characteristics I prize. First off, these were no locally acquired chips. Rather, the treats had lumps, shards and bits of fine chocolate that spread and softened under the stove’s warmth, with the goal that they were a capricious joy. They had salt, a fixing that amplifies the kinds of spread, chocolate and dark colored sugar, however they weren’t salty. The edges were crisper than the middles, which were delicate yet completely heated. Furthermore, the treats were profoundly brilliant dark colored, as I’m persuaded all baked goods ought to be.
The treats looked provincial, however they were so deliberately considered that I knew they’d have a back story, and numerous months and incalculable treats later, I called Hirayama to find it. I wasn’t astounded when she uncovered that as she was instructing herself to heat, she’d experience “periods of fixation,” periods when she’d make comprehensive investigations of a solitary formula. Amid the time when she was endeavoring to ace the treat that would be the perfect one for her, she kept a point by point graph of her tests and retests, utilizing an alternate hued pencil for every preliminary. The treat she came to years prior has turned into the base of numerous creations, including the rye-cranberry chocolate-piece treat, my top pick.
Like all great — and fanatical — pastry specialists, Hirayama has a method of reasoning for all that she does with these treats: “I shape them between my palms since I need every one to be extraordinarily uneven,” she clarifies; and they’re squeezed when they originate from the stove, so they spread and break some more. She’s similarly exact regarding why every fixing is incorporated: The cranberries are somewhat acrid, and they counterbalance the treat’s sweetness; the chocolate is unpleasant, another make preparations for the treat’s by and large too sweet; and the rye flour, well, it makes the treat somewhat more delicate, yet it found a place in the blend in light of the fact that Hirayama was pulled in to its lovely dim shading. Like an exemplary chocolate-chip treat, the batter has a mix of white and dark colored sugars, yet dissimilar to different individuals from the great’s family, this one has poppy seeds, bunches of them. They spot the treat, look tweedy and pre-winter and taste only this side of understandable — there’s a secret about them. Hirayama says she added them to make the treat crunchy, and they do. They likewise make it difficult to disregard. One more reason it requires such a long investment to go a short route in Paris.