The cream of the crop

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Beard Papa is in Japan what Krispy Kremes, in their hayday, were to us.  People go crazy over this stuff in Asia, and they’ve finally come to America.  The company’s logo is an animated character that’s a cross between the Gordan’s Fisherman and Santa Claus.  My husband says he kinda looks like Ernest Hemingway, but I digress…

They’ve got three Bay Area locations: two in San Francisco and one in Redwood City.  So what’s all the fuss?  It’s not like any other cream puff you’ll have.  First off, it’s much larger than the classic cream puff.  It’s somewhere between the size of a donut and a traditional puff.  Secondly, the pastry is composed of two layers: slightly crisp on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside.  Third, the cream inside really isn’t.  It’s more of a light custard.  It’s texture is silky, light, and perfectly airy.

They only come in chocolate and vanilla bean cream, but they also offer a weekly special flavor.  On this visit, it was Tiramisu.  The cream’s flavor was richer than the usual vanilla, yet the texture was still light.  It was really more of a coffee flavor than tiramisu, but it was a nice change from the usual. 

But I saved the best for last.  The vanilla bean flavor is still the best, in my opinion.  The filling is at once eggy and light, flavorful yet not too sweet.  It’s so mild and subtle and never overpowering.  I just love the texture of the cream and pastry.  And together it’s a great combination of crisp and creamy.

Japanese desserts are typically lighter than their western counterparts, and this cream puff is no exception.  It’s so delicate in its construction and flavors.  And they even claim to use all natural ingredients, no preservatives, and organic vanilla beans.  The puffs are made fresh everyday and filled with the cream when you order them, so they don’t get soggy.  You should eat them immediately after purchase. 

Even somebody like me who doesn’t have a big sweet tooth could easily have more than one.  Tasty!

Beard Papa San Francisco Shopping Center / 99 Yerba Buena Ln, S.F. / 835 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City

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