This is the third and final product in Raymond’s new dessert range following a pretty good cherry clafoutis and a fabulous chocolate delice. It took a while to track this one down but the food hall in John Lewis on Oxford Street came up trumps as it so often does. Unfortunately though it wasn’t on offer so for the first time with a Raymond dessert I was forced into stumping up the asking price of £6.
In my previous blogs I’ve covered my love of Raymond, his TV programmes and Le Manoir so I won’t cover old ground again – you can look up the blogs if you can be bothered. I will however confirm that since writing my previous blog I have heard direct from the horses mouth that Raymond no longer has any stake at all in Maison Blanc. In addition the word “craquonet” (which I got from a patisserie documentary that Michel Roux Jr did when he interviewed Philippe Conticini, who runs the amazingly spectacular Patisserie Des Reves) isn’t actually a real word to describe the texture between crisp and crunchy, I think it is just a word that Philippe made up, but the onomatopoeic nature of it made it sound so credible that I took it to be common knowledge. I feel like the French should adopt it anyway.
The description of the pear and walnut dacquoise was tempting “Pieces of pear in soft walnut cream, between light layers of meringue. Traditionally French. Classically romantic.” and myself being a classic romantic, I defrosted it and shared it with my girlfriend and her sister whilst we watched the incomprehensible Jamaica Inn.
I love pear, I love meringue, I love cream and I’m fine with walnuts too, so this dessert was onto a winner before we began eating, unfortunately when we did begin eating the winning theme began to die. The pear had the texture of pear, but as for flavour, it had none, which is a real shame when it is one of the main ingredients. The nutty meringue was indeed nutty but the “Dacquoise meringue” or “light crispy Dacquoise biscuits” as the packaging also describes them really struggled when it came to texture. It had a stale edge to it, like the base of a jaffa cake, only it was lighter than that so perhaps soggy polystyrene is a closer fit. The creamy bit was nice, but there wasn’t enough of it to pull everything together. The packet suggests serving the Dacquoise with a ginger creme Anglaise which might have been a good idea for some added creaminess, but being lazy and having spent £6 already I didn’t want the hassle of buying milk, cream, ginger, three large egg yolks and caster sugar to make my pudding complete, besides I’d already worked hard enough transferring the Dacquoise from box to plate and letting it sit in the fridge for a few hours.
So the new Raymond dessert range is a real mixed bag, if you want to try one definitely go for the chocolate delice, but if you happen to not like chocolate then get the cherry clafoutis and if you don’t like chocolate or cherries then you’re a) a weirdo but b) left with no choice but the pear and walnut Dacquoise – so good luck with that.
Raymond Blanc Pear and Walnut Dacquoise £6 for 320g