Here's a wild new concept for theme park desserts: Taste

October 22, 2018, 2:26 PM · What's the easiest way for a theme park to celebrate a special event? Roll out a new dessert!

Cupcakes have become cliche at Disney's theme parks, especially at the Walt Disney World Resort. Every anniversary, movie release, or seasonal promotion elicits a debut of a newly decorated cupcake in the park's coffee shops and bakeries.

But as different as these concoctions might look, if you close your eyes before putting them in your mouth, I suspect you'd be well challenged to tell any one from another. They pretty much all taste like the same fluffy ball of sugar, as if an infinite army of Easy Bake Ovens was cranking out the same premixed batter and icing for every selection. These special event cupcakes are designed more to attract attention on your Instagram feed than from your palate.

So leave it to the culinary pros in Paris to attempt to defy this trend. Disneyland Paris is promoting its latest special-event dessert, and this one doesn't look like so many others.

Created by Chef Patissier Pierre Herme, the "Mickey Zest Party" celebrates the Big Cheese's 90th birthday next month. This isn't yet another cupcake, but a take on a lemon meringue tart. While it looks elegant and handsome, it isn't the sort of wildly decorated confection that Disney's pastry chefs typically churn out to trend on social media feeds.

The tart builds upon a shortbread base, in the classic Mickey head shape. The "face" is covered in a lemon filling, topped with preserved lemon zest and dices of lime-flavored meringue. One ear is finished with a flood of dark chocolate, while the other gets strawberry puree.

Mickey Zest Party, courtesy Disneyland Paris

Now that looks like something worth the calories, as Prue Leith might say. The crisp shortbread and silky lemon filling should provide a contrast in textures too often missing in the ubiquitous cupcakes specials, as well.

(To be clear, I'm not blaming U.S.-based pastry chefs for the taste issue stateside. I am certain that they've been given a directive to make stuff that looks spectacular, while hitting a price point for production costs. Taste, spectacle, value — pick two, as the business school profs might say.)

I haven't tasted the new creation, so I cannot say for certain that it delivers on its promises. But it certainly tempts me in a way that no special event confection has in a long time. Disneyland Paris will be selling the Mickey Zest Party at Walt's and the California Grill in the Disneyland Hotel from November 17 through January 6.

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