Two bites in and MnMo Style Editor Katie Dohman and I were oohing and ahhing. Four bites in and curious co-workers from the other side of the cubicle wall had come over to find out the source of such moans of delight. The answer? Pastries I’d just picked up from the new Black Walnut Bakery.
The new Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis Farmers Market stand—Thursdays, at 10th Street—is run by Sarah Botcher, who first wowed me with her pastry work at the reborn Muddy Waters (see: the delish banana cream pudding with a gingersnap crust and toasted-marshmallow top). Most recently, she’s been the pastry chef for Butcher & the Boar, creating such delights as mint semifreddo Grasshopper Pie.
In a matter of weeks, Botcher’s stand has already hit the bullseye, judging from all the badge-dangling folks being lured from the Target employee clubhouse to crowd around the table and ogle the goods. I loved the Kugelhopf, a domed, sugar-dusted bun with a tender, challah-like crumb that’s studded with pistachio, currant, and orange. (If you like the gibassier at Patisserie 46 as much as I do, you’ll love this, too.) The pain au chocolat is denser than its croissant-shaped cousins, but don’t be dissuaded by its homely looks. Its fabulously rich texture is created by layering pastry cream and melted chocolate chips.
Black Walnut also offers savory items, including a Chorizo Bun that’s a gourmet take on a pig-in-a-blanket and a smoked-ham-and-Gruyere-cheese croissant that, priced at a modest $4, is hands down the best breakfast value in downtown Minneapolis. (We can thank Botcher’s husband, Peter, butcher/chef at Butcher & the Boar, for supplying the tasty meats.)
Next on my to-eat list? The flaky butter cake Kouign Amann, the almond-cherry Bostock, and the double-chocolate Blackout Cookies. Can’t wait!