Pastry chef Dominique Ansel, a former alum of the internationally acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud of six years opened his own bakery in SoHo. As a person who loves pastries, I made some time in my schedule to visit this bakery.
Being barely a week old, this bakery was buzzing with activity when I arrived here yesterday around 11:30 AM. Though I was tantalized with the delicious looking savory sandwiches and salads offered and displayed, I held off for another day just to have Ansel’s baked goods since he’s prominently known for sweets.
Dominique Ansel’s Kouign Amann (succinctly known as DKA, $5.25) is something pastry dreams are made of. If you never had Kouign Amann think of a buttery, flaky, caramelized croissant except it’s neither of the traditional shape. If you never been to Brittany (or France) and eaten a Kouign Amann, the DKA would be the closest to perfection as you can get.
For the past year or so, I’ve been hankering for a good cannelé ($3) and Ansel makes a damned good one. Crisp from its thick, deeply caramelized exterior and sublimely custardy on the inside, from the use of a half bottle of rum used per recipe, how can it not taste good? I think I found the place to fulfill my craving.
The Mini-Me cake ($5.75) is a chocoholic’s dream. Moist, flourless cake layered with airy chocolate mousse and glazed in chocolate, dotted in crunchy miniature chocolate meringues. Each bite was intense of chocolate with textures of crunchy to creamy without being too sweet.
The Paris-New York ($5.50) is one of the signature pastries (besides DKA) of this bakery. Think of this as the lovechild of the Paris-Brest and the Snickers bar. A tender ring of choux pastry filled with chocolate ganache, peanut butter cream, and caramel. It’s a sophisticated, Americanized version of the Paris-Brest.
The Gâteau Battu (slice $4.75, whole $26) is a tall fluted cake that is sold either whole or in slices. A fairly large slice, about the size of a dessert plate, this eggy, subtly sweet cake was pretty darn good. Think of this as a brioche cake that’s dense, slightly moist and very fine crumbed. If you stayed at the bakery to eat, you may request it to be toasted (you can add butter or jam for an extra $1.50). It’s perfectly good without the butter.
The adorable, colorful assortment of Mini Me or miniature meringues when I saw it at the bakery’s shelves was hard to resist that I had to pick up one for home. Mine was peppermint. Besides it being cute and simply munch on them, I can have it with my hot chocolate, replacing the fresh marshmallow. (Fresh marshmallows are generally like meringue, minus the sugar syrup and gelatin.)
To take a break from all things buttery and chocolate-y, I opted for the Coconut Mango cake ($5). This is not your typical coconut cake, as everything was ethereal and cloud-like of coocnut then the sweet kiss of mango. The coconut cake is flourless, as it is a coconut dacquoise, layered with mango and coconut cream then completely coated in dessicated coconut flakes and topped with a mango gelée flower. If you’re searching for a light (at least how it felt on the palate) cake, this is it.
On my next visit to this bakery, I am pretty set to try their savory options. (I’m eyeing on the Roast Pork Club.)
To view the rest of the photos from this visit, please scroll through the slideshow below or view my Flickr set.