For Valentine’s Day 2012, Dalloyau has created his and hers gourmand pastries: Valentine & Valentin, a tasty duo of religieuses, the round éclairs first invented in 1856 at the Café Frascati in Paris.
The Frascati, an upscale establishment immortalised in the works of Honoré de Balzac and Alexandre Dumas, was located at the corner of boulevard Montmartre and rue de Richelieu (2nd arr.). It was demolished in 1857, but the plucky religieuse has endured as a classic of French pâtisserie!
Dalloyau’s Valentine’s Day adaptations of the 156-year-old pastry: Ma Pulpeuse Framboise, a “voluptuous” religieuse, covered with a scarlet, violet-infused glaze, and filled with luscious raspberry centre. And Mon Tendre Caramel, covered with a delicious rum-flavoured glaze and filled with a smooth caramel fondant.
The origin of the name “religieuse” (French for “nun”) remains unclear, though some note the pastry’s vague resemblance to a nun’s shape and attire. That said, the original version, as served in the Café Frascati, was actually square. It was gradually modified to differentiate it from similar pastries.
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Photo: © Dalloyau