Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Hope everyone is feeling happily fat and full! I have a lot of things to be thankful for this year, as well as a lot of unthankful things (you a$$holes know who you are!), and one of those things is that I don’t live closer to Dominique Ansel Bakery. Not that I hate the place, but the bakery of Dominique Ansel (the ex-Executive Pastry Chef of Daniel) is too damn addictive. The place is serious trouble for your waistline and your wallet. So if you’re prone to unhealthy dependencies like I am, divert your eyes and move one. Everyone else, let’s dive into the rabbit hole of gluttony together, shall we?
The most popular pastry at Dominque Ansel is the DKA ($5.25), Dominique’s kouign amann. Buttery and flaky like a croissant, but denser and richer with a caramelized crust, it’s for those people who’ve always thought croissants weren’t artery clogging enough.
Plain croissants ($3), however, are just as good. Pillowy and airy, the buttery layers practically melt in your mouth.
The Liquid Caramel Chocolate Tart ($5), as the name suggests, is a beautiful dark chocolate tart…
filled with thick liquid caramel. It’s insanely rich, but still not too sweet. Which is another problem with the desserts at Dominique Ansel. Nothing is crazy sweet, so as long as you have a nice cup of coffee or tea, you can mindlessly eat an extra pastry or two without getting the sugar jitters. Again, very dangerous.
The Paris-New York ($5.50) is another twist on a French classic, the Paris-Brest. In this case, the choux pastry is topped with peanut-caramel, candied peanuts, and filled with not just whipped cream, but chocolate cream with more peanut-caramel. It’s definitely more indulgent than the classic, but for the price, why not?
Much lighter is the Raspberry Pavlova ($5.50), a meringue sandwich of sorts with coconut cream, fresh raspberries, raspberry filling, and gianduja crumble. Greedy that I am, I personally wish it had a bit more raspberry filling, but as-is it’s a delicate, elegant little dessert.
David’s favorite at Dominique is the Arlette ($3), a cinnamon-scented variation of a palmier but thinner and wider so it’s all buttery crunch and sweet glaze. If your favorite part of a palmier is the crisp, sweet exterior layers, Dominique Ansel has created just that without the nuisance of the less sweet, soggier innards. In Seinfeld-speak, it’s the muffin top without the stump.
I have two favorites at Dominique Ansel. (Don’t make me choose.) One is the Apple Tart Tatin ($5.50). Although I like apple desserts, I’m not a huge fan, but this pastry with its towering cylinder of luscious, smooth, sweet apple goodness and crisp buttery base, I’m definitely a fan.
My other favorite may not be as visually stimulating as the other showstoppers at Dominique Ansel, but in terms of taste, the Cannelé de Bordeaux ($3) can’t be denied. The sticky, crisp exterior is caramelized a rich, dark brown, and the inside is tender and custard-like. So simple, yet so lovely.
Now do you see why I’m so thankful I don’t live closer to Dominique Ansel? Thank god. But in all seriousness, it’s been a tough few weeks in the northeast because of Sandy, so this year I’m really thankful for the strength of people to carry on. Whether it be to go back to your thankless job, take care of your kids, or to keep on cooking and eating. Happy Thanksgiving!