You know how sometimes, you’ll be reading a cookbook or a cooking magazine, and a recipe will call for a specific piece of equipment? And all of a sudden you just have to have that thing, right that minute? Even though this is the first recipe you’ve ever laid eyes on that mentioned it? Because you can just feel, deep inside of you, that it will make your life better?
Well, this is exactly the story of my mini paper cups.
In no way can I be held responsible, of course. The culprit, in this instance, was Pierre Hermé, by way of his cookbook Mes Desserts Préférés. Among all the gorgeous tempting if-I-had-three-days-to-devote-to-it-I’d-definitely-make-this recipes, he offers a simple recipe for Moelleux aux Amandes. These are bite-size almond cakes, on which he encourages you to plop anything you fancy, a pinenut or a piece of pineapple for instance, and he instructs you to bake them in caissettes en papier. “Mini paper cups?”, thought I, “But I don’t have mini paper cups! I can’t go on living like this!”
Just a few days later, I happened to be in the vicinity of Mora, my best source for baking paraphernalia. I walked in, in search of my new Holy Grail, and was happy (but not at all surprised) to discover that not only did they sell my coveted caissettes en papier, but they actually offered a dozen varieties, in different types of paper, shapes and sizes, all taped to a pink little frame up on the wall for you to make your choice. Ah. Choices. Difficult, painful, agonizing choices.
Pierre didn’t specify the size of his mini paper cups, so I just picked the one-inch based ones, which seemed small enough to be cute, but large enough to actually hold something. I inquired about the price, and the salesman said the box cost 6 euros. He then looked at me with worry in the eye and said, “We sell them by the thousand, you know!” What, did I not look like someone who would bake one thousand mini-cakes and petits fours? Besides, how often can you get a thousand of something, anything, for just 6 euros?
So now, I am at peace. The itch has been scratched, and I can sleep at night, comforted by the thought that up there in my kitchen cabinet, I have a little cardboard box filled to the brim with 1,000 mini paper cups, biding their time. Correction : 999 mini paper cups. When I got home I showed them to Maxence, and handed him one. He looked at it, smiled, fiddled a bit with it, said “that’s cute!” and… tore it up! Right in front of me! To test the resistance of the paper, he said! So I have, in fact, 999 of them. I’m sure that’ll do.