Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Napoleon and Cream Puffs At Linda's

Napoleons and some V-Day macarons
Let's talk about cream.  When a new bakery opens, it's easy to start talking about the cake and the cookies.

At Linda's Bakery in Columbia, I started with the meringues and then went back several times for macarons.  But you need go beyond the crunch if you're checking out Linda's.  You need to check out the cream.

Start with the cream puffs.  They're simple enough.  A wrapper of pastry, wrapped around a few tablespoons of thick, sweet cream.  They're simple enough, except that that's a professional pastry cream.  So sweet and thick, but bright and light.  The first puff didn't make it out of the parking lot.

The napoleons got home.  They're the same cream layered with thicker, crunchy pastry.  Mrs. HowChow knew that they're called mille-feuille for the thousand layers (or so).  Linda's tops them with sugar-glazed fruit.  They shattered under the fork into a crackle of crisp and gooey, and they're a great take-home dessert.

Think cream.


JP said...

I have had just about EVERY item from this bakery and every single item is amazing. Linda puts a great deal of care into everything she creates. The Napoleons are made just the way they are in France! The layers are flaky and the cream is so perfect and it NEVER makes the layers soggy- everything is just delightfully put together. The cream puffs & mini eclairs are decadent and a real treat through and through. I think I'll have to pick up a dozen on my way home from work! :D Love LINDA'S BAKERY! :D

cjk said...

The keylime pie is yummy, tart filling, sweet whip cream and a great graham cracker crust. Cupcakes were just okay, Kupkakes and Co still have the best.

S. said...

Linda's bakery is great; we're slowly working our way through sampling all their offerings. So many luscious things to choose from, so little time. :) So far, we've tried the individual lemon pies, with their perfectly-piped and browned meringues, the apple tarts, the pear tarts with almond, some of the cookie varieties, and the different poundcakes (lemon, lime, and chocolate), all delicious! We've also tried the macaroons & they're ok but don't give our opinion much weight as macaroons are not our favorite treat no matter where they're made. Thanks for the tip, cjk, we'll give Kupkakes & Co a try in order to compare cupcakes.

bmorecupcake said...

First, the positives. I love that Linda's is fresh. It takes a little prying to find out what was baked that morning; I always get the usual "everything is fresh" response at first. But it doesn't take too much work to get an honest reply. The Napoleans are indeed above average, always fresh so the pastry stays crispy and flaky. As a rule I don't purchase banana bread (because it's so easy to make at home and we always have overripe bananas lying around). However, I will purchase Linda's banana bread because of its crumb and great balance of sweetness and banana flavor.

Now, some not so positives. The Napolean "cream" has far too much whipped cream folded in for my taste. I prefer the traditional, custardy filling. Furthermore, Linda's is very expensive. E.g., Napoleans are $6 (vs say $5 at Bonaparte in Baltimore City.) Macarons are $12/lb. And although the macaron flavors are good, they just don't have the glossy sheen I expect from macarons. Also, the cream puff pastry is the same pastry as the eclairs, which is a no-no in my book.

Nitpicking? Probably. But if I'm consuming sugar calories, it's gotta be worth it. There are quite a few items I haven't tried, but I do stop by when I'm in the area.

Anonymous said...

I would make a special trip for those macaroons--and the little heart cookies too! The macaroons are also perfect for my brother, who's allergic to wheat. As to the price, macaroons are very light weight--you get an awful lot of cookies in a pound. Half a pound is plenty for me.