The only thing painful about Le Petit Pain is deciding which of its luscious breads, pastries, cookies, tarts, and other confections to take home with you.
But one pain that's pure pleasure is a breakfast bread that, if you're not of Scandinavian descent, you've probably never seen before. "Scandinavian coffee cake" is how Le Petit's co-owner (with wife Gaelle) Tom Tchernia describes it, though at his tiny Lantana bakery, it goes by the more prosaic name of "cardamom-raisin bread."
Yeah, that's cardamom, one of the stalwart spices of Indian cuisine but also a player in the cuisines of the various Scandinavian countries, where it arrived from
Constantinople via the Vikings. The unexpected hit of exotic, aromatic,
sweet-spicy cardamom in a rich, fine-textured breakfast bread is, well,
Tom Tchernia says the three-braided loaf
is basically a brioche dough, flavored with cardamom and plump raisins
and given a glaze and scattering of big sugar crystals. To keep it
authentic and satisfy the customers of the site's previous occupant, a
Scandinavian bakery, he hired the bakery's former owner, Elsi Ollsen,
to make that and a couple of other items. Right now, it's available
only at the brick-and-mortar Le Petit, but Tchernia says he's looking into
selling it on the bakery's website.
As to the best way to
serve it, many of Le Petit's Scandinavian customers ask for their
loaves stale, to better dip slices in their morning coffee the same way
Italians wield biscotti. Lingonberry jam is another traditional
accompaniment, but I think it's tough to beat simply toasted and spread
with a good European-style butter. (Plugra always works for me.)
Truly, the only time it hurts is when you eat the last slice.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.