Recreating rose dessert with renowned chef Maxence Barbot

From Paris to Dubai, his famous pastries can be sampled at Shangri-La

Chef Maxence Barbot brings a taste of France to Dubai

Chef Maxence Barbot brings a taste of France to Dubai
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Lucky locals of Shangri-La Paris can savour the sweet treat La Fleur, or flower in English, whenever they want. This month, Dubai residents have the chance to taste test the rose-shaped desserts for themselves.

Its intricate floral form comprises five layers of chocolate, cream, biscuit, mousse and feuilletine. With a touch of moutai, a Chinese spirit, the confection features subtle notes of chilli. Bursting with flavour, it is equally pleasing to the eyes.

For Valentine's Day, La Fleur inventor chef Maxence Barbot has brought it to Shangri-La Dubai.

“I find the process of transformation with desserts incredible,” says Barbot, who heads the pastry team of Shangri-La Paris. “We may start with a powder or a cream and turn it into something solid that is bursting with flavour.”

La Fleur is now part of the Dubai hotel's afternoon tea menu, which can be ordered until the end of February, along with other limited-edition items. Otherwise, Barbot's pastries are only available at Shangri-La Paris.

The French chef, who learnt baking from his mother, is known for his dessert-making ingenuity. At the hotel in Paris, he puts his own spin on classic French pastries, from chocolate profiterole to Parisian flan.

For La Fleur, Barbot collaborated with Samuel Lee, the executive chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Shang Palace in the French capital.

Expert tips

Although La Fleur is made with a specific mould, the French chef has shared some tips with The National when it comes to creating intricately shaped desserts.

“The most salient aspect of La Fleur comes from its intricately shaped high-quality mould,” Barbot says.

It might be a challenge to perfectly replicate the dessert's shape, but home bakers can at least play with the same flavour profile. Barbot uses vanilla mousse as the foundational element of La Fleur. Its citric quality comes from the orange blossom raspberry confit and the texture is enhanced with almond cookie and crunch.

When using a baking mould, Barbot says it helps to it for a few minutes before filling with batter or mousse. “It helps in maintaining the shape during baking or setting,” he says.

“Whip the cream to stiff peaks before gently folding it into a mousse mixture. Overmixing can deflate the mousse and cause it to lose shape,” Barbot adds.

He emphasises the importance of experimenting with different techniques, from layering to piping.

“Pay attention to the density and thickness of each layer to ensure a harmonious balance when assembled,” he says.

The dessert should be chilled for an adequate amount of time, usually for several hours or overnight. When it's time to unmould, the chef recommends being “patient and gentle to avoid any breakage”.

When it comes to flavours, Barbot says to start with a base profile, before gradually introducing complementary and contrasting flavours to create complexity.

“Taste test as you go, adjusting the quantities of each ingredient to achieve a harmonious blend of flavours without overpowering one another,” he says.

To Barbot being a pastry chef is all about creativity. “Our profession allows us to imagine many things, whether in the form of a curve or a colour.”

“Creativity is everywhere, look around you,” he adds. La Fleur, for example, is inspired by French butter rolls.

“I'm interested in reinterpreting our classics using traditional gourmet codes, but I also prefer to integrate a visual design of the dessert.”

Updated: February 10, 2024, 4:06 AM