I'm not sure what a tompoes would be called in English
. I do know that there is a French variety
of it that's called a millefeuille
. My dictionary
gives 'cream slice
' as a translation
but I've never had one of those so I couldn't tell you if it's the same thing. Anyway
A tompoes consists of two slices of puff pastry, with a thick (think at least 5 centimeters) layer of whipped cream or crème pâtissière or something similar inbetween and a layer of (preferrably unnaturally pink) icing on top. When served it comes on a saucer, accompanied by a small fork. Here's where the trouble starts. You approach the tompoes with the fork, place the fork on top of the tompoes with the teeth parallel to the tompoes surface and the plane of the fork perpendicular to it (obviously you want to cut, not mash) and you press down.
Wrong! The pastry is not at all impressed (either literally or figuratively) and all that happens is that the cream is pushed out of the tompoes. Apparently this is not the way to do it. You try again, spearing the tompoes with the fork and trying to pry loose a corner. Wrong again. This procedure leaves you without a tompoes, but with a loose combination of two pieces of pastry, one with icing, and a blob of cream, somewhere in the vicinity of the saucer. This, too, is not the way to do it.
You decide to take matters into your own hands and eat with your fingers. So you gingerly grip the underside by the edges, lift the whole contraption to your mouth and take a bite.... Alas, this gives the same effect as the first try with the fork, only worse, and results in the cream ending up on the table. Or on your clothes.
What, then, is the proper way of eating a tompoes? It goes as follows (applicable only on a whole tompoes on which the former steps have not yet been tried):
Take the fork and use it to divide the tompoes into two pieces horizontally, through the cream. You lift up the upper part with your fingers and turn it around, cream side up. The rest of the procedure depends on where you are and whether it's okay for you to eat with your fingers. If so, eat the upper half, then eat the lower half in the same way. If not, put the upper side down on the saucer, again cream side up, and proceed to eat both halves with the fork (which is now possible). This way the amount of mess is minimized (but not entirely avoided. There is no way to eat a tompoes without any mess at all.)