Hands of gold

Last night I had dessert for dinner. For someone with a savory persuasion, last night's Dessert Night at Beans and Bagels was surprisingly exactly what I needed. For most of Saturday, the rain that has plagued our spring still hung in the air, and I wondered if it would ever stop. As the sun came out later in the day, our friends Alethea and Philippe called with an invitation to sample some of a their friend's sweet treats. Jean Yves is a pastry chef who's been making his famous croissants at several different establishments around Chicago for several years. Philippe says he has "hands of gold", and when he says it in his French accent, you can only think of these perfectly formed croissants.

Photo by Jean Yves Martin

As we sat down, cappuccinos in mismatched mugs arrived while we ordered one of everything on the menu.

It was a sugar overload, but we managed to scrape every plate clean. My personal favorite was the Nutella and banana crepe. There is something about the combination that can't be beat. Nutella and I have had a long love affair that began many years ago, and I was relieved to find that I can buy it here in the US. Someone at our table confessed, in a low hushed voice, that they have been known to peel a banana and cover it with the hazelnut spread before devouring. That's what I call breakfast.

The creme brulee was lovely and crisp on the outside while the custard center was smooth and deliciously creamy.

For the purists in our group, the flourless chocolate cake fit the bill perfectly.

We took a tour of the kitchen where Jean Yves arrives at the crack of dawn daily to bake a variety of croissants. I have to admit that I was tempted to wheel out the huge Hobart mixer and make some space for it at home.

The night was a success. As the last of the guests left the small cafe, all that was left in the kitchen were shards of caramelized sugar.

As if we hadn't had enough already, we couldn't help but sneak a few handfuls before we headed out into the night.

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