Sunday, May 01, 2011

香芒脆撻@Maxim's Cakes

Cakes from Maxim's arent really that bad - afterall, the very same bakery supplies for both Maxim's bakery, Starbucks, Simplylife and a lot more restaurants in the group. And periodically Maxim's do put up promotions that feature specialist breads and cakes. In early April I noticed the very eye-catching yellowish poster featuring desserts and cakes that use Philippine mangoes....yummm.

Mango are now available year-round, thanks to some advancements in agricultural technologies, but the mangoes you have are usually either too sour or too ripe. Yuck. But when mangoes are in season they would be available in plentiful and at an incredibly cheap price, and extremely SWEEET. I LOVE mango but i do not quite enjoy the process of dissecting the soft fruit into wedges, always ending up making a mess, tainting my fingers and nails with the strong juice. Too much mango consumption will also result in least in my case. That's why I usually prefer having a little bit of mango in desserts instead of eating one whole piece. There is then no reason to miss the promotion from Maxims!

Three or four special desserts are available only during the promotional period and I am only interested in the Crunchy Mango Tart, as I dont usually have panna cotta nor cream cakes very seriously. But I do am a fan for pastries - after two years of training as a home economics student, I admire the art of pastry making as I know how hard it is to make a really crunchy pastry. So i was there one afternoon, buying two tarts which I have much anticipation for.

[caption id="attachment_255" align="alignleft" width="604" caption="香芒脆撻"][/caption]

I only got a glimpse of the tarts after dinner as the shopkeeper was really quick in packing. The tarts cost $15 each - moderately priced. The mango flesh formed shiny little peaks on the tarts. They smelt sweet. Oh lord, I cannot recall when the last cake from Maxim's that actually excited me was. Was it the birthday cake my grandma bought me like, ten years ago? Or was it the chestnut cake my friends bought me for my birthday two years ago? I disremember. But i think the reason why a lot of Hong Kong people like Maxims is not just because of its unbeatable price, but also the memories they have with the products.

Back to the tarts. I worried if over-freezing would soften the pastry and make them soggy, but my worries were casted away when i could cut the thing with a crisping sound. NICE. The pastry was obviously not the crumbing kind as it was hard enough to withstand the force of a chopping knife, yet not hard enough to resist to the force.

From this you could see the different layers. Topmost: mango and shining syrup. Then a layer of cream, followed by some spongecake. On the pastry was a thin layer of chocolate syrup. Last was of course the tart base.

Very typically Hong Kongese I would say, with the spongecake and cream and stuff. It sorta reminded me of the birthday cakes i used to see at some really local bakeries when i was small-you know, that kind of cream spongecakes with all sorts of weird jelly-looking stuff and enlongated 'Happy Birthday' written on them, sometimes beside a Hello-Kitty or whatever.  I thought there would be something like custard instead of the annoyingly fluffy cream which actually does not taste good but weirdly empty and sweet. And the idea of putting a log of spongecake into a tart is just..weird to me. I wouldnt have done that had i been the chef.

The tart was not as tasty as i had anticipated either. The mangoes were certainly sweet but i thought the shining thing on top was not very necessary - just let them shine naturally instead of adding a awkward artistic sweetness to it. Then there was the problem with the cream and spongecake which I had mentioned - they were just-odd.They shouldnt be there. Custard and something crunchy would be a better alternative.

The layer of chocolate syrup was quite crispy and gave a nice little twist on the flavour of the tart (choco v. tropical), but the tart pastry was just-well, a tart. Its actually the one used by Tai Cheung in their famous egg tarts ie. the so-called cookie pastry. This one was less buttery and more crispy, and although it was not bad to eat there was nothing surprising or worth 'ah'-ing about it. Its just a tart. Period.

All in all - the tart is nothing more than a tart. Perhaps i should not have expected too much from Maxims. Afterall, they are just charging you $15 for each of the stuff. So maybe i should just shut up and eat.

Or perhaps not at Maxims anymore. I could have used up my pitiful quota for desserts elsewhere.

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