Let us prolong the pleasures of a season which is too short by returning to a mainstay of summer months: the Fraisier. The pastry of childhood for many, this comfort food nonetheless demands good craftsmanship, and can easily lend itself to an unsuspected refinement. Let us judge the one offered by Stohrer – the oldest pastry shop in Paris, with a storefront dating to 1730 – which follows this pastry’s classic codes.
This cake is composed of two layers of almond and pistachio sponge cake, with a generous layer of mousseline cream incrusted with fresh strawberries in between. The top is covered with another layer of cream, and decorated with a strawberry jelly and a fresh strawberry cut in half.
Le Fraisier by Stohrer is 110 mm long, 35 mm wide, and 55 mm high. The specimen we purchased weights 198 grams and costs 4.50€.
We immediately notice the delicious smell of strawberry upon opening the package. Underneath the acidic strawberry jelly arabesque on the surface, the cake’s surface is covered with a thin layer of cream. Its taste brings to mind butter cream, and so does its rich, silky texture. We recognize the expected flavor of pistachio in the underlying sponge cake. The latter is moist and appears to be uniformly soaked in a strawberry syrup – alcohol-free, as is conventional in the traditional recipe for Fraisier.
The mousseline cream is nicely rigid, enabling the dessert to hold itself together. It is very sweet, and holds the visible imprints in which whole strawberries are nestled. Though fresh and large, the latter lack flavor. We note that the cream was slightly disfigured by the pincers used in the shop to handle the cake.
The bottom of the second layer of almond- pistachio sponge cake is spread with a very thin layer of dark chocolate. This presumably allows the dessert to be moved without damaging the lower cake layer to much. However, we believe that white chocolate would be a more neutral choice than dark chocolate, whose presence upsets the gustatory palette.
Le Fraisier by Stohrer is careful not to derogate from the rules of this classic and popular dessert. Yet it lacks a touch of refinement which would distinguish it from other Fraisier contenders. In concrete terms, this added touch could come from using smaller but more flavorful strawberries, arranging them more symmetrically, introducing vanilla into the mousseline cream, or by replacing the layer of cream on the surface by a lighter icing with a lower fat content. In addition, the dessert could be lighter in sugar. However, we do note the cake’s pretty decoration and its overall pleasing textures.
Score: 3.5/5 Good
51 rue Montorgueil, 75002 Paris, France
Open from Monday to Sunday from 7.30am to 8.30 pm.
Tel: +331 42 33 38 20