|La Pomme’s tarte Tatin is made-to-order and arrives piping hot, with layers of butter puff pastry, custard cream and warm, spiced apples (La Pomme)|
Pumpkin and its similar-hued cousins are classic fall ingredients for these colder months and it has practically become tradition for prominent shops like Bewitch and Pain de Papa to put out pumpkin pie when autumn rolls around.
“We started selling pumpkin pie six years ago,” said Pain de Papa owner-chef Lee Ho-young.
Famed for his naturally-leavened bread, Lee has been selling his popular loaves for seven years and counting.
While bread is clearly Pain de Papa’s headline act, the bakery’s pumpkin pie has its own growing fan base.
Every year in early October, Pain de Papa takes paid-in-advance reservations for their pumpkin pie, which is baked-to-order and available for pick-up at their store in Seoul’s Garosugil from Oct. 29 to the 31st, just in time for Halloween.
Though it has only been about two weeks since the bakery started taking orders, Lee says that customers have already reserved approximately 200 pies.
The pies, according to Lee, are just big enough for three to four people. The filling is made with steamed kabocha squash, fresh cream, sugar and spices.
“Our filling is very soft, like mousse,” Lee, 49, said.
|Bewitch’s pumpkin cake with caramel cream cheese frosting features layers of ginger-spiced pumpkin cake and is topped with candied maple pecans. (Bewitch)|
At Bewitch, pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-based desserts are available as long as the season is right, according to co-owner and chef Shin Ji-min.
Shin’s small dessert shop, which first set down roots in Seoul’s Garosugil over seven years ago before moving to Seorae Village last year, is known for changing up its dessert menu on a day-to-day basis, incorporating fresh seasonal fruits and ingredients into its American-style treats.
This year, Shin revealed that her spiced pumpkin pie, which is fashioned with roasted kabocha squash and fresh cream, boasts an extra oomph, an extra layer of deep richness from an additional ingredient -- bourbon whiskey.
Molasses, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves heighten the deep caramel flavor of the filling, which is encased in a thin, flaky and slightly salty crust.
When ordered in-house, the pie comes robed in a dollop of silken fresh cream.
Other pumpkin-based desserts include a layered pumpkin cake with caramel cream cheese frosting that has been spiced with ginger and topped with candied maple pecans and a pumpkin cheese cake with a chocolate-coconut-walnut crust that comes topped with bourbon caramel whipped cream.
“We are also planning on doing an assembled-to-order pumpkin dessert,” Shin, 47, said.
Apples are also traditionally an autumn fruit and Bewitch specializes in both a cinnamon crumb crusted-apple walnut sour cream pie and an apple cheddar pie.
“We do a hot apple toddy that is made with applesauce, cognac and spices,” Bewitch co-owner and bartender Shin Chang-in, 48, revealed.
At La Pomme, a French-by-way-of-Tokyo dessert shop that opened in Seoul’s Garosugil approximately two years ago, their apple-based tarte Tatin is a perennial best seller, according to co-owner Joung Eung-do.
La Pomme, is, in fact, sister shop to the Hongdae-based dessert cafe Be Sweet On, which started selling tarte Tatin when it first opened, Joung, also co-owner of Be Sweet On, revealed.
Made-to-order, their riff off the classic French dessert arrives piping hot, a towering mass of buttery hot puff pastry, custard cream, spiced, warm apples and cold, homemade vanilla ice cream.
“We developed something that would be a cross between a mille-feuille and a tarte Tatin,” said Joung, 35, adding that it takes 20 to 25 minutes to make the dessert, which is available year round but is more popular during colder months.
La Pomme’s variation of the chestnut-based dessert mont blanc, Joung said, is another fall-appropriate treat.
“We fill ours with chocolate mousse, cover it with marron cream and top it with chocolate ice cream,” Joung said.
Prominent Japanese bakery brand Mont St. Clair has also released a fall-friendly marron pound cake, while Pierre Herme Paris in Korea recently released a candied ginger and coffee macaron called Jardin de Nordeste in September and will be releasing creme brulee, white truffle and hazelnut, chocolate and Earl Grey tea, and mandarin orange macarons starting November.
572-2 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, closed Sundays
Pumpkin pie costs 22,000 won each and can be ordered in advance by phone or at the store until Oct. 29
76-10 Banpo 4-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
Open noon to 10 p.m. from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays, closed Sundays
Pies and cake by the slice cost around 9,500 won to 16,500 won, seasonal treats are usually available on Fridays and Saturdays
534-8 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open noon to 11 p.m. weekdays, 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekends
Tarte Tatin costs 11,000 won and takes 20 to 25 minutes to make, mon-blanc au chocolat costs 8,500 won
Mont St. Clair; www.ms-clair.co.kr
Pierre Herme Paris in Korea; stores located at Hyundai Department Store’s Coex, Apgujeong and Pangyo outlets; www.pierreherme.com
By Jean Oh