Pain d'Avignon is the great New York City bakery hiding in plain sight. It doesn't advertise or otherwise toot its horn. Yet its delicate, crispy rolls fill the breadbaskets at many of the city's top hotels and white tablecloth restaurants. Not bad for three guys from Belgrade who arrived here a little over 20 years ago with only a few dollars in their pockets.
'Pain d'Avignon' on Serious Eats
From marshmallow apples oozing liquid caramel to decadent red velvet cakes and whisper light coconut cakes to gigantic, golden honey toast, desserts in this city seem to only get better and even more delicious with each passing year. Click through for my picks of the top ten Sugar Rush sweets of the year.
Established in the 1940s by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, the Essex Street Market has witnessed—and played part in—the ever-changing culture of the Lower East Side. Market newcomer Dorie Greenspan took us on a crawl of her new home. Follow along on our tour!
A golden croissant ($3) is flecked with crushed walnuts and a dusting of powdered sugar. Fresh, with endless buttery layers (that should be more flaky) and a heart of walnut cream. Walnut cream? Yes. Think frangipane made with walnuts in place of almonds.
Every since Pain D'Avignon opened inside the Plaza Food Hall, I've been finding as many excuses as possible to stop by the hotel. For savories (quiches!), miniature sandwiches, and of course, the sweets. We already talked about the Croissant Bread Pudding (which they're now doing with peaches), and today we're having the Apple Crumb Cake ($4).
At Pain D'Avignon inside The Plaza Food Hall, Bread Pudding ($4.50) is baked in a long pan and sliced to order. It's a croissant bread pudding to be exact, textbook perfect with a handful of raisins on one occasion, and tender apples on another.
In honor of Serious Eats Bakery Week, we set out to answer a question that's been on our mind for ages: what's the best baguette in New York? Because for every good baguette, there are dozens of disappointments. Tough, mouth-hurting crusts or doughy, spongy insides. A dried-out crumb or a flavor that's too sweet or too sour or just plain bland. We're tired of suffering bad bread—and wanted to find you the best in the city.
[Photograph: Kathy YL Chan] This petite Pecan-Cranberry Loaf ($3.25) from the first retail location of Pain D'Avignon in the Essex Street Market has provided not just double, but triple duty for my bread cravings. First, toasted in the mornings...