Feed Me: Rahier


Hi there,

Anticipation of the Goodies which lie inside

Rahier Patisserie in Toronto offers many delicate French pastries including croissants, tarts, cookies, breads, sandwiches, and cakes.  Having fond memories of their lemon turnover a few years ago, we decided to take a stroll down memory lane.  In we walked in from the frosty, but sunshine filled day.  Once inside, it was quite hard to make a decision with so many artfully sculpted desserts and dainty cookies staring us in the face– but in the end we purchased 1 box full of baked goods and brought them for the ride back home.  Then the demolishing of said baked goods began.

Gateau Basque

The filling, which was a light vanilla pastry cream, was smooth and silky like pudding.  However, I guess I was confused when ordering this at the counter because I thought it would be filled with almond paste.  Despite this, the tart itself overall was quite enjoyable.  The crust had a shortbread crispiness and was very buttery; I loved the scraggy crust that formed on top.  It gave it such a rustic appearance.  The person that kept eating this one most was me… it  was hard to share.haha

Pleasantly buttery with a creamy pastry cream filling

Croissant

So the ultimate test for any self -proclaimed French bakery is the Croissant.  Painstaking layers are created by folding the dough upon itself and then giving it time to rest in the fridge– only to the repeat this process several more times.  A light touch is required because this yeast leavened dough is enriched with so much butter, any added heat would turn a flaky, crisp dough into a sloppy, goopy messy– kind of like working with wall paper paste or paper mache.  Not something we want in a croissant.

Now onto the important questions: Was it flaky? Yes.. but flavourful?  No, unfortunately not.  They have the texture correct though; light and airy but not substantial enough to be remembered.  Without the buttery aroma and flavour… it was very one note: bland.

Almond Blueberry Tart

This was pretty ho-hum.  Yes, the cake was moist and soft but not very flavourful.  To echo the nuttiness of the sliced almonds on top of the tart, perhaps they could have made the cake with almond paste, ground almonds, or even splashed some almond extract into the batter.  Any of these options would have given this tart more of a fla-va-fla-vor boost.

Fluffy cake and flaky crust but lacklustre blueberry filling.

Again, they got the flaky thing down pact with their wafer thin crust, but the filling tasted like something out of a can.

Croissant (laminated) dough sandwiched with Vanilla Pastry Cream

This (above) reminded me of a haute stuffed Boston cream doughnut sans the chocolate.  Also, I gather they use the same Croissant (laminated) dough to fashion all these different pastries with.  However, they need to be reinforced with a higher quality butter.  Otherwise, no matter how much you doll these pastries up.. it can’t hide the fact that I could not taste any of that cow derived goodness… aka sweet creamery butter!

 

Pistachio studded Danish

The pistachios were what lured us to buy this in the first place.. as well as the stunning butterfly shape.  Yes, we’re suckers for the aesthetics.  This was sweeter than the pastry pictured above because they ‘jelly-rolled’ (like you would do with a cinnamon bun) the Danish in a sugar-pistachio blend. The interior was even tinged with the lightest rain forest green.  However, the texture of the nuts were off.  They absorbed a lot of moisture which made them soft and chewy… not very appetizing, especially when I was expecting a satisfying crunch.

Apricot Danish

Another beautiful glistening Danish.  This one looked like the side of a conch shell.  It was quite sweet because the apricot sat on a creamy filling and the entire thing was glazed with apple jelly.  Again, no butter flavour detected from the dough, but c’est la vie.

Fan style Croissant

This (above) reminded me of a jellyfish in motion with its tentacles swaying back and forth.  It was a plain pastry (nothing inside) so was lamentably, it was swimming in blandsvilles.  On the positive, the texture was light and quite airy… something we all appreciated.  It shows that they take special care with their baked goods.  There’s definitely no shortage of beauty with any of their items at Rahier.

Almond (paste) Croissant

Unlike the bountiful filling I get with Jules’ almond croissants, here at Rahier, they were VERY stingy with the amount of almond paste used in their croissant (whaaa? Just a SLIVER?).  Please, sir, I want some more!

A bit skimpy on the filling… what a tease.

All right, so it would appear I’ve tore this place apart with my less than raving reviews.  However, I do not think they are at fault completely.  To clarify, it is apparent that they have mastered the technique of crafting these pastries from a very fickle butter-based dough.   Any of these desserts and pastries could be showcased in an art gallery.  However, the workhorse product of this bakery needs to be changed.  I firmly believe that if they invested in a higher quality butter (i.e. Plugra), there would be a line-up out the door for their baked delights. After all, compared with Jules (where practically everything was practically sold out on a Friday morning by 10:00 am), over at Rahier (at the same time), they had pastries in spades.

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2 thoughts on “Feed Me: Rahier

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