Amelie’s French Bakery
I happened upon Amelie's on the very first day it opened. Co-owner Lynn St. Laurent put together a box of pastries—raspberry, apple, and blueberry turnovers; meringues; and a twice-baked almond croissant. When I asked if they had any chocolate croissants, she regretfully said they were all out—then threw in a batch that "hadn't proofed right" for free.
This emphasis on quality and attention to detail is what sets Amelie's apart.
Especially noteworthy are the fruit tarts—baked just long enough to begin to darken and caramelize, with homemade pastry that blends seamlessly with the fruit layer on top. The orange tart uses the entire orange, rind and all. St. Laurent says the tradition of using the whole fruit is “very French.” Mousse cups resemble a bonbon more than a baked dessert—rich and dense. Cream fillings for lemon meringue and eclairs have just the right texture—not runny, but not heavy either. I was initially skeptical about the bakery's signature dessert, a multilayered peanut butter feuilletine tart made with an almond sponge base, peanut butter mousse, chocolate mousse, and ganache, since peanut butter tends to be overpoweringly rich and is not an especially French ingredient. But with its mellow peanut butter flavor balancing an intense chocolate, a few bites won me over.
2424 N. Davidson St., 704-376-1781, www.ameliesfrenchbakery.com