Manila’s best dessert today–I believe | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Here is a dessert that will surely blow your mind away.

If I were to label it, I’d simply say, that it is currently Manila’s best dessert, by far, hands down!

Brasserie Ciçou’s  kouing-aman (pronounced as “queen aman”) is native to Britanny. “Kouign” is the Breton word for cake, “aman” for butter.

When I asked the Brasserie’s owner and chef Cyrille Soenen what kouign really was, he sent this from Wikipedia: “It is a round crusty cake, made with a dough akin to bread dough with sugar sprinkled between layers. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough and the sugar caramelizes.

“Kouign-aman is a specialty of the town Douarnenez in Finistère, in the west of France, where it originated in around 1860.”

But to describe it as just that is inaccurate, if  not unfair.

It was chef Soenen’s wife Anna who egged him on to bake this cake. Being Filipina, she knew exactly what Filipinos would enjoy.

“I didn’t want to do it at first because it is a very long process,” recalls chef, “and also I was not sure if people would like it. But Anna kept nagging me and so we did it and added homemade salted caramel ice cream.”

The pairing turned out to be a masterstroke.

With pride, Soenen, quips, “I’m perhaps the only chef who could do it as good as that in Manila. Even Mr. Louis Paul Lessafre, a French man who has been based here for awhile but a pure Breton, declared, during a gastronomic dinner, that my KA is better than many in France, in Brittany! I guess the difference is, for me, it is not just a piece of cake with sugar and butter but because we prepare it with a lot of love!”

After the first bite, few desserts make you yearn for the next time. This was what I caught myself doing: making a mental note to ask my mom and siblings to coffee and try this Breton cake at Ciçou.

The taste lives on in my palate memory and I’m looking forward to the next time.

You have to experience this dessert; describing it is a mere puny attempt.

It is a crisp puff pastry like dough, generously layered with superior quality butter. Rolled, it resembles a cinnamon roll, lacquered in caramel.

Imagine pressing your fork on the crisp pastry and hearing the caramel coating crackle. Then you see the pastry flake.

With the pastry on your fork, you spoon a good portion of home-made rich, creamy, perfectly salted caramel ice cream— then take that perfect bite.

The sensation created by the hot sugar pastry with the cold, creamy, salty-sweet ice cream, the texture—all that constitutes the experience. Dessert heaven!

And if you’re in search of the perfect baguette, crusty outside, nice and moist inside, go have it at Brasserie CiÇou as well, paired with steak tartare. Fantastic!

Brasserie CiÇou is at 57 Annapolis St., Greenhills, San Juan. Call 0917-885-8841 for reservations.

Natural angus

ESV International adds Meyer Natural Angus to its long, impressive list of meat selections.

Its cows are on strict vegetarian diet and are also antibiotic- and hormone-free.

According to its website, Meyer Natural Angus is the only major beef company to receive “Certified Humane” designation from the Humane Farm Animal Care program.

The requirement is that cattle be raised with shelter, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behavior.

My book “Kitchen Rescue 3— The Directory: My Lifeline to Eating, Cooking and Living” is now available in leading bookstores; call 6474744.

E-mail the author at raspiras