From the beginning, YANN COUVREUR wanted to make high-end pastry, without artifice, and with respect for the ingredients. He worked at the finest establishments (Trianon Palace Versailles, Carré des Feuillants then the Park Hyatt, Burgundy and finally the Prince de Galles, where his famous millefeuille was born), before embarking on his own, away from the main avenues in the popular République neighbourhood. Patisserie Yann Couvreur, his first shop, opened in May 2016.

What role does cream play in your baking?
Yann Couvreur :

Coming from a background of classical pastry and not belonging to the vegan movement, cream has a prominent place in my work. I like it, therefore I use it. It lightens a lot of preparations, it’s luxurious without being overly rich, and fabulous because with the same ingredient you get so many different options. It’s difficult to circumvent cream as the finest pastries use it.

How do you manipulate cream in your baking?
Yann Couvreur :

Especially whipped. In this way, it acquires its true ability to lighten. I whisk by hand in small amounts. In the shop, that’s possible provided that only small batches are made at a time because it doesn’t take that long. A little icing sugar, some vanilla and it triples in volume, nothing more, I love that light texture that’s half solid and half liquid; I call it beaten cream. It’s a luxurious mix of liquid and air. It’s an emulsion between the two.

Pastry, I do it for me the way I like it.
What are its uses?
Yann Couvreur :

In éclairs, for the ganache as it retains that dense chocolate flavour. On cooling, it resumes its expansive properties and brings a lightness. Today, we expect lighter desserts that are less heavy. I also make a pavlova made from whipped cream. In the millefeuille, there’s crème diplomate: emulsified cream incorporated with cold custard.

On an apple pie, a raw cream with muscovado can be used, which has a very nice tartness. And for fruit desserts, tarts, the St Honoré, I use a herbal infused cream (tarragon and raspberries for example, but also mint, tarragon, cilantro or shiso) as it imparts real power. It’s technically not an infusion because the mixture is heated and mixed together so that the herbs fully penetrate the liquid. Thus, a flavoured cream is obtained, not an infusion, but it’s very powerful though, and doesn’t even need to be strained. It’s then cooked like a custard, possibly mixed with milk. It never needs other flavouring or colouring.

What is the best dish you've ever created using cream?
Yann Couvreur :

The Écrin. It’s a kind of round dessert in which different layers of mousse and ganache are held together with whipped cream, smoothly encased in meringue. I wanted a dessert that was very sensory, which combined several textures into something very sleek. The cream gives the frozen mousse a perfect smoothness which contrasts with the crunchy meringue. It’s very fine, a true alchemy.

Cream: would you say that you like it a lot, passionately, or are absolutely mad about it?
Yann Couvreur :

Between passion and madness. However, I’m a Breton. But pastry, I do it for me the way I like it.

What is your favourite cream pastry?
Yann Couvreur :

The millefeuille, because since its creation (in 2013) it’s brought me so much. It was the result of an accident. We wanted to make a Kouign-amann for the opening of the Prince of Wales, but I had a pre-heated panini warmed up next door. I put the Kouign-amann dough in the press and out came this crispy and crunchy square.

Discover the chef's recipes