Earlier this fall, I heard a new French bakery would be opening. And then I found out it would be just blocks from my house! I found La Patisserie on both Facebook & Twitter, and anxiously awaited news of their grand opening. So I was thrilled last night to see that they would in fact be up and running this morning. They open at 7 am, and I walked over around 8 am, and was immediately greeted by a trio of friendly women behind the counter, including pastry chef and owner, Soraiya Nagree.
Located on Annie Street, just off South 1st, La Patisserie is in a converted old house, most recently a chiropractic office. The front two rooms are set up cozily with seating areas, an enclosed play area for the babies, and some commercial sweets & treats as well. The light-filled back room is the bakery counter, with work space off to the left. (They do the actual baking in their commercial kitchen space in East Austin they said.) Coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, and tea are all available too.
Everything looked good enough to eat! Ha ha ha.... Seriously though, I had a hard time deciding WHAT to get. I asked what the "morning buns" were, and Soraiya told me they were one of her favorites. It's like the French version of a cinnamon roll. Yes, please! And an almond croissant, and a mini-palmier, and 3 different macaroons, and she threw in a cookie that I would have called a madeleine, except it doesn't have the ridges... I can't remember what she called it, but I do remember she said brown butter. So she put everything in a box, and I headed back home.
I dove right into the morning bun. I don't think I've ever had anything quite like it! It is like a cinnamon roll in that the dough is covered with cinnamon & sugar, and rolled up though not as tightly as a traditional cinnamon roll. These appear to be baked in large-sized muffin tin, and there's a little bit of a hollow space created by the loose rolling. It's lightly crunchy on the outside from the caramelized sugar, and as you peel back the layers, you see the multitude of them, though not flaky like a croissant. As you get towards the center, it's that squishy, tender just-barely-baked dough core. The whole thing is a wonderful contrast in textures, and you don't come across this kind of flavor by using margarine. There will most certainly be more morning buns in my future.
Almost four hours later, I am still full from my morning bun, but I have managed to nibble on the some of the others for the sake of getting this blog post done! The palmier -- nicely flaky and very light. All three of the macaroons have really distinct (in a good way!) flavor to them: the peppermint chocolate, cardamom orange honey, and caramel fleur de sel. The cardamom probably surprised me the most; I absolutely love the flavor of cardamom, and am usually disappointed because I find the flavor isn't prominent enough in things like this. Not in this case. It took a moment, but the cardamom really pops through. The brown sugar thingy is barely crisp on the outside, with a solid, yet tender crumb. It would be a great tea cookie. I only nibbled on the end of the almond croissant, but it's nice and crunchy on those outer tips, and there seems to be a multitude of almond paste inside! Hopefully, I can save it for breakfast tomorrow.
And there's a multitude of things to go back and try! Opera cakes, madeleine, brioche rolls, eclairs....This is going to be very, very bad, so close to my house! Congratulations to La Patisserie on their opening today, and here's to years of sweet success!
A closer look at some of the sweets: