Jean Claude Perennou and Gnanasampanthan Sabaratratnam, the owners and pastry chefs of Cannelle Patisserie in Jackson Heights, have a way with pâte à choux, the light, eggy pastry used in eclairs and profiteroles. The Paris Brest is a classic done well at Cannelle, the halved ring of pâte à choux filled with a light, almost mousse-like praline cream. Dusted with sugar and toasted almond slices, there's nothing new or fancy here, just tradition, finely executed. Did I mention that this Paris Brest is only $3? A bargain you'll never find in Manhattan.
Pâte à choux meets puff pastry with the St. Honoré, where the creation is topped with a single cream puff, the bottom half dipped in golden caramelized sugar. Freshly whipped cream secures the cream puff onto the layer of pâte à choux. Gently sink your fork in to reveal the heady vanilla custard and a base of puff pastry. It's simple and complicated at once, with bites of soft cream, custard, and the crisp butter-rich pastry. It's hard enough to find a good St. Honoré in this city, much less one at the excellent $3 price. If only Cannelle Patisserie were slightly easier to get to without a car, this place would be swamped with Manhattanites tired of paying so much for quality pastries. So you'll just have to trust me when I say the detour to this bakery is more than worthwhile.