[Photograph: Abby McCartney]

Whether you're in Texas, where pralines are pronounced PRAY-lines and denote a crunchy toffee candy, or here in New Orleans, where we say PRAH-lines and mean something chewy and soft, there's no doubt that the combination of caramel and pecans is a winning one. At Maple Street Patisserie, a cozy neighborhood bakery on bustling Maple Street in New Orleans, this southern combo meets a New York specialty in the Praline Cheesecake.

The marriage of New Orleans and New York is a fitting hybrid for head baker Ziggy Cichowski, who was born in Poland and made stops in France, Germany, Austria, and Brooklyn before landing on Maple Street. The hybrid sweet is a decadently creamy, crustless mini-cheesecake topped with a golden swirl of caramel and a couple of crunchy, salty pecans. Rich, yes, but that didn't stop us from reaching for just one more bite, until the whole thing was suddenly (tragically!) gone.

In addition to cheesecake, Cichowski offers traditional European breads and croissants, as well as authentically New Orleanian treats like king cake.

Maple Street Patisserie

7638 Maple St., New Orleans, LA 70118 (map)
(504) 304-1526

About the author: A native Texan, Abby McCartney now lives, works, and eats in New Orleans, where she teaches high school math by day and explores the city's rich food culture by night. She makes a mean chocolate chip pecan pie, loves avocado on everything, and is learning to like yogurt.

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