When you stop by Honoré Artisan Bakery in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, you'll be greeted by a pastry case full of crackly, caramelized pastries. Which to choose? Here are our 5 top picks.
'pastries' on Serious Eats
Azúcar in Ocean Beach is stocked with too many colorful temptations to count, from mini cakes to mojito cookies. So, what do you choose? We asked owner Vivian Hernandez-Jackson for her top five picks.
Pastry chef James Miller is the steady hand in the hot kitchen at Cafe Besalu, churning out trays of delicacies. Which of his treats should you order? The plain croissant is a given, and here are a few additional recommendations to round out your breakfast tray.
William Leaman led the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA to victory in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Cup of Baking) in 2005, and since then he's been a winner with fans of his Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle. But with so many tempting options, what should a first time visitor get? We've sifted through the options to find the best.
It's 5,000 miles from Seattle to Paris as the crow flies. Despite the distance, the Emerald City is shining proudly in the area of pastries—good news for those who can't quite cross the Atlantic for the real thing.
Kim Boyce, author of the James Beard Award-winning Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours cookbook, recently opened the quaint and cozy Bakeshop in Portland, Oregon. Fans of her cookbook are in luck: Bakeshop sells a number of items from Good to the Grain, including her chocolate chip cookies, Figgy Buckwheat scones, ginger molasses cookies, corn gruyere muffins, and maple pecan granola. Here's a peek behind the scenes.
It's been three weeks since I began working on Canelé for my column, and this is what they've reduced me to: crazed, unable to pull myself away, and struggling to put down words that might help you, gentle reader, avoid the madness to which this pastry has driven me. Learn from my dozens of attempts and come see how to makes canelé for yourself.
Pastry Paris is equal parts incredible food picture book and historical narrative. It's a chronicle of French pastries, telling the story of pastries past and present. Author Susan Hochbaum shows that in France, pastries aren't just exclusive to the cute patisseries lining cobbled streets; they're literally everywhere, echoed in the city's very architecture.
When I told Carrie I was headed to Spain, she had this advice to give: "If you can tear yourself away from all the jamon, look for ensaïmada." But after a few clicks of research, I realized, uh, it's not entirely jamon-free. The pastry is made with flour, water, sugar, eggs, and reduced pork lard (where the oink comes in). "Saim" actually means "pork lard" in Mallorquí.
It's pretty safe to assume that most of us have had an éclair or two at some point in our lives, whether it was at a Parisian pâtisserie or at a corner bakery. But how many of you have attempted to make a batch of these chocolate topped, cream filled pastries at home?
New England may be doughnut country—and rest assured we'll get to the region's best specimens at a later date—but there are plenty of baked (not fried), equally delicious reasons to get up in the morning, too. Behold, our local tribute to those twisty, knobby, sometimes-sticky, cinnamon-sugar-swirled breakfast beauties known as sticky buns and morning buns.
Anne Thornton, the host of Food Network's Dessert First with Anne Thornton, didn't realize food was her calling until later in life. She chose to pursue degrees in finance and philosophy, then landed a job with Apple Computers first. Despite her impressive gig in Chicago, she eventually left it for New York's Institute of Culinary Education, landing a job in culinary production.
I've never actually mailed a sticky bun to anyone before, but with this one I came close. Let's just say that sticky buns are pretty much the holy grail of breakfast pastries in my family, and my Monty Python-esque quest to find the ultimate version came to a glorious end at Joanne Chang's Flour Bakery and Café.
Before visiting Utah a few weeks ago, I can't say I had any preconceptions about Salt Lake City's bakery scene. But after a morning spent cruising the town for pastries, I have to say, I'm pretty impressed. Former Serious Eats intern Alison Herzog brought me by Tulie Bakery to sample all sorts of chocolate goodies, but it was the morning bun I fell hard for—flaky, tender croissant pastry spiraled around sugar, tasting gently but unmistakably of orange.
Morning buns from La Farine, the French bakery with three locations in the Bay Area, are muffin-shaped but so far from muffins. Flaky, thin croissant layers swirl up around the top like a snail shell, and get a drizzle of cinnamon sugar granules. You pull apart feathery pieces like you're eating a cinnamon roll, except it's not nearly as dense, gooey, or sweet. Tan and crispy around the edges with tender pastry insides, these morning buns are good even when they're not baked-seconds-ago fresh—they could easily be called anytime buns.
Michael Laiskonis is consistently rated as one of the top pastry chefs in the country for his work at the three-Michelin-star-rated Le Bernardin. He also happens to be an incredibly nice guy, and generously took some time out of his insane schedule to answer some of my questions .
I was doing it before it was cool. (It's fine, I bet you were too.) Now that plenty of scientific evidence has proved that chocolate can provide some health benefits—in moderation, of course—that doesn't seem like such a big deal. But what about chocolate for breakfast? Sure, the Spanish and French aristocracy used to drink it all the time, but a mocha in the morning isn't quite enough for me. Here are some ways you can feed that craving before noon and not feel like a total freak. I promise—you're not alone.
Chocolate is a complex thing—its history, properties, lore, chemistry and uses fill volumes and volumes of books. I'm always looking to expand my knowledge, and thought I'd share some of my favorite chocolate-related tomes this week. Since my space here is limited, this is by no means a comprehensive or scientifically compiled list. Please jump in and add your favorites! I'm always looking for new reading material.
I'm not the first to fall for San Francisco's Tartine Bakery and Café; nor am I the first to write about it. I'm probably not the five-hundredth to write about it. But some places, truth be told, deserve all the praise that's heaped upon them. Even when that praise results in a thirty minute line. For a takeout counter. Mid-morning on a Wednesday.
So, why a flatulence reference for such a delicious pastry? There are a few theories. One points to the noise that doughnuts make while being fried. Another explains that a nun farted in a kitchen causing another nun to crack up so hard, she dropped some pastry in hot oil and hey whaddyaknow, it tasted pretty good.