Pâtisserie: American Series

“Unsatisfied desire is in itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” — C. S. Lewis

The American Series holds a special place in my heart as many of these creations are tied to personal memory; biting the butts and ears off of Easter bunnies, getting vanilla frozen yogurt with gummy bears after a difficult dentist appointment… Though not as elaborate, refined, or elegant as their French equivalents, these desserts are delightfully frivolous, playful, and colorful. Upon side-by-side inspection with their French counterparts, there are some hidden little secrets of this series: the cherries are brighter, the colors reflect our use of dyes and additives in America; even the chocolate is a different color from the French dark chocolate. The two displays interact, with the same dessert appearing in both cultures: gingerbread men vs. les macarons, chocolate kisses vs. truffles, as well as hot chocolate, chocolate cakes and jars of candy.

The following desserts are all handmade from glass or ceramic, which includes the plates, cups, glass jars, cherry stems, sprinkles… everything but the wooden sticks in the caramel apples and chocolate covered bananas.

Also see The French Series.

“A raspberry set on a piping of whipped cream set on a crispy tuile, itself set on a bavaroise; tarte au citron, forêt noire, Mont Blanc, all those exquisite French pastries transformed into masterpieces of illusion in the hands of Shayna Leib, who indulges a passion for hyperrealism with fascinating technical virtuosity. She combines glass-which she has worked with for more than twenty years-with porcelain, creating perfect replicas of forty extremely sophisticated pastries, and setting them against forty American desserts. Culture against culture. In this elaborate trick, everything is artificial. Every detail fools the eye: glossy icing, chocolate ribbons, mousses, golden crusts, fruits, textures, sculpted sugar, colors. The cremè de la cremè, a feast for the eyes-but you could chip a tooth on it!”

— Olivier Castaing, Curator of Céramiques Gourmandes

All photos: Eric Tadsen