My parents and sister went back to Hawaii a few days ago, but we were lucky enough to dine at a dozen or so restaurants, all which will be blogged…eventually, haha. We stayed in for breakfast the other day, mom scrambled eggs, I made tea. And dad? Well he dash off to Balthazar Bakery away to pick up a baguette. He cannot live without his baguettes. It is ridiculous. Back home, his go-to spot is Saint Germain, but here in the city, he prefers Balthalzar. So he went and he came back with big bags.
He went with the intention of baguettes but came back with much more. Now you know where I get my bakery weakness from!
Sister and I split the pistachio cake doughnut for a pre-breakfast snack. It was so pretty I was heartbroken to snap the poor doughnut in half, but alas, one bite into the moist and crumbly cake and all was forgotten. A thin spread of icing and smatter of crushed pistachios topped it off and made for a great start to our morning meal.
I pulled out the baguette and was not surprise to find the top pulled off and crumbs strewn all over the bottom of the bag. This never fails to happen. A baguette, in my dad’s care, will never make it home without the top torn off. It is comforting in a strange way…as long our baguettes come home topless, all is right with the world.
A high crust to innards ratio, with a lovely shatter effect, it really is an attractive baguette, deep brown in colour with long even slashes. It proved to be perfect with our breakfast of eggs and brie.
There were a few more treats hidden inside the bag, but those were saved for a post-dinner treat. We spent the day shopping, eating, apartment hunting, and wandering around the city. It was a good thing we took advantage of the nice weather cause the next day was freeeezzzing!
When we returned home that night, I eagerly opened up the bakery boxes and was delighted to find a chocolate pignon tart. The buttery cocoa tart crust is just the right thickness, cupping a bounty of deep, dark chocolate ganache. The word ‘velvety’ fails to do it justice, for at room temperature it simply surrenders at the touch of your tongue, leaving you helpless to the whim of chocolate.
The ‘pignon’ portion of this tart’s name is rather deceiving. The only evidence of pignolis are the nine sprinkled on the surface. No evidence of pignolis in the ganache or crust, though I would imagine it would make for lovely textural contrast to have pignolis interspersed within the buttery smooth ganache.
Stashed in the package next to the tart was a bag of granola for my mom. MY MOM LOVES GRANOLA LIKE NO ONE ELSE. She saved this to take back to Hawaii. I thought it was overpriced at nearly $10 a bag…but who knows, it might be amazing granola!
Our second dessert was a Pear Galette, which was AMAZING!!! I was coming down with a cough and sore throat that day, but sheeeesh, even the crisp and flaky crust couldn’t stop me (though my throat did feel like crap afterwards). But oooh, this one was wonderful! A million layers of thin phyllo, each one brushed with butter, base to a filling of frangipane and sweet pear slices. A thin layer of blueberry preserves rested between the frangipane and phyllo.
The galette cut into quarters so nicely, only shedding but a few crumbs. Every bite was a delight, teething sinking though the tender pears, and glorious sweet and nutty cloud of frangipane, just a dabble of blueberry and then a complete change in texture, the phyllo light, sharp and crisp. A trio of raspberries rounded it off, beautiful but completely unnecessary.
And so we started the day with Balthazar Bakery and closed it just the same. In between? Lunch at Boky in Chinatown and dinner at Lombardi’s – you’ll hear about them soon :)
Enjoy your Sunday!
80 Spring St.
NY, NY 10012
We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes “China Black”, “Keemun – Splendor of Flavor and Perfume”, and “Yunnan – Among the Grandest of the World’s Black Teas”. We have added a link to the end of each one to … Continue reading
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