Chef Dominique Ansel, inventor of the phenomenon known as the Cronut, refuses to be a one-hit wonder. He recently said of his croissant-doughnut hybrid, "I don't want the creation to kill the creativity. It's not so much about making the next Cronut. It's about making something other than the Cronut." Frozen s'more popsicles and brioche-encased soufflés are just a few other brilliant creations produced by Dominique that deserve credit, too! Take a look these and other notable nibbles available at the bakery.
Apples got their start in America from seeds brought by English colonists (the first apple orchard was planted on a slope in Boston in what is now Beacon Hill). In the 19th century, every homemaker could toss off a biscuit or pie dough and deftly wrap it around stuffed apples. They tied up the dumplings in cheesecloth, boiled or steamed them, and served them with sauce; latter-day cooks prefer to bake them. We're not sure when apple dumplings fell out of favor, but we set out to resurrect them.
Liberté, egalité, fraternité: Happy (almost) Bastille Day! Sunday (July 14th) marks the anniversary of France's national holiday, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which began the French Revolution. While Parisians celebrate with fireworks and parades, I'll be starting my day off on the right foot with a pain au chocolat and a café au lait (and ending it with a glass of Burgundy or Beaujolais, no doubt). I thought it'd be fun to entice you with a number of pastry fun facts. Do you know much about these buttery baked goods, or are you just good at enjoying them? Find out when you take this quiz!
If you don't live in New York City and you have taste buds that are anything like ours, then chances are you're vying desperately for a Cronut. What is a Cronut, you may ask? It's a doughnut-croissant hybrid, developed by Dominique Ansel, that has swept New York City into a sugar rush. While you might not be able to wait in that extravagant line for a chance to purchase two cream-filled Cronuts, you can peruse this photo album to see extreme close-ups of the man, the bakery, and the Cronut-making process itself.
What happens when you combine tangy cream-cheese-flecked pastry dough with a dollop of cherry-almond filling? Magic — pure magic. Rolled together into a charming shape reminiscent of a crescent roll, these addictive pastries are almost like a doughier handheld cherry pie, though really they're in a class all by themselves.
Two warnings: first off, these are not the sort of treat you whip up at a moment's notice. Make certain to devote a lazy afternoon to the process, though they're hardly as involved as homemade petit fours or a laminated-dough pastry like a danish. Secondly, make more than you think you'll need, even if that means doubling the recipe, as it's near-impossible to devour just one. (If doubling, make two separate batches of the dough, though the filling can be doubled to no ill effect.) Otherwise, enjoy!
Rejoice, Top Chef: Just Desserts fans! Season one winner Yigit Pura has a new San Francisco patisserie, Tout Sweet, opening this Saturday, Sept. 8. Billed as a French patisserie inspired by Northern California produce, this très chic pastry shop is sure to tempt all but the most stalwart sweets-averse. For those of you living outside the SF Bay Area, don't fret: chef Pura is currently penning a cookbook titled Sweet Alchemy, due out next Fall, and has plans for eventual nationwide expansion.
Perhaps it's the rainbow of cheerful hues, the adorable two-bite size, or — most likely — the perfect crisp-chewy texture, but I just can't get enough of French macarons. Even when I'm stuffed to the gills, I can always make room for these tiny, delicate pastries.
True, macarons can be temperamental (meringue is the capricious culprit), but they do respond wonderfully to patience, encouragement, and a loving touch. So before you dismiss the idea of making these little lovelies at home, we've found a basic recipe that breaks down the uncooperative veneer of the elusive macaron.
Although part of the same happy pastry family, the French macaron should not be confused with the coconut macaroon. They are similar in concept, but differ greatly in execution: while both entail adding dry ingredients to a delicate egg white meringue, the one "o" macaron uses finely ground almonds as its base and requires much more gentle handling.
Much like a first date, there's a good chance that your first batch could end awkwardly. As in love, you simply pick yourself up and try again. Once you begin to understand the macaron's nature — its singular texture, its response to your oven, its personality in your climate — suddenly it's like the realization that you both enjoy the same rom-com movies and takeout Chinese: everything just works.
Ready for the challenge? Read on for the recipe.
Gerhard first started baking at age 17 in his native Austria, so it's safe to say he knows a bit about French pastry. Michler chalks the growing cream puff tower trend up to the fact that people seem to want to see new things these days, and that a croquembouche (also known as a pièce montée) is an exciting conversational piece. For more on this amazing French dessert sculpture, keep reading.
Source: Flickr User Matthew BietzTake the Quiz