A French bakery in Queens


MY DAUGHTER Patricia lives in Sunnyside in the Queensboro just three train stops from the Queensboro Bridge that links Manhattan, New York City’s most densely populated borough. Manhattan is the cultural, financial, media, entertainment and culinary capital of the world.

On Saturdays, Patricia and I, with Sabrina in tow after collecting her from her ballet class, are
always on the look out for shopping areas and culinary joints within the neighborhood of Queens (parking is
impossible in Manhattan!).

And one such afternoon, in our desire to satisfy our sweet cravings, Patricia drove to nearby town, Jackson Heights, to a real French Bakery, Cannelle Patisserie, one of only 80 Zagat-rated bakeries and pastry shops in Queens. Patricia says Cannelle Patisserie is her latest discovery for exquisite French delights without driving to Manhattan.

And the owner is French Pastry Chef Jean Claude Perennou who has catered to president, dignitaries and celebrities when he was the Executive Pastry Chef of the Waldorf Astoria.

Forbes ranked Chef Perennou as fifth in the list of 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America.

Cannelle Patisserie is in a strip mall in a quiet neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Elmhurst.

This neighborhood joint is patronized by its diverse residents composed of South Americans, Asians, Indians and Pakistani, including out-of-towners like us.

The place looked quiet but inside, a brisk business kept the international staff on their toes (Bangladesh, Colombia, Mexico, France, Guyana, Haiti,
Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and USA … Wow!).

The display of glorious desserts and pastries; piles of airy croissants and breads in baskets were eye-popping!

Among the display, I was reacquainted again with St. Honore Cake, so named after the patron saint of pastry chefs and bakers, with circles of puff pastry at its base, with a ring of choux pastry filled with Crème Chiboust with small cream puffs dipped in caramelized sugar attached side by side around the circle of choux pastry.

I feasted my eyes on the glistening delights behind the glass before I settled down to check out the menu.

Sabrina knew what she wanted–Croque Monsiuer and her favorite Napoleon and Tiramisu.

Gateux Napoleon is a classic French pastry with delicately crispy layers of puff pastry with rich custard filling topped with glossy royal icing.

This is quite popular back home but nothing comes close to Cannelle’s.

I settled for the pretty and dainty Fraisier or Strawberry Cake, another classic French cake comprised of fresh strawberries, vanilla cake and British butter cream.

Fraisier is derived from the word “fraise” which means strawberry. I also enjoyed Apricot Tart with my caffe latte.

I even shared Patricia’s Cheesecake and Paris-Brest of choux pastry in the shape of a wheel filled with praline-flavored cream.

This pastry commemorates the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race way back in 1891. Our cravings cannot possibly finish more than what we had so we had to bring home few of our favorites–Almond Croissants and Apple Turnover.

The buttery, flaky croissant is baked to a rich golden brown topped with slivers of almonds and filled with frangipane or almond-flavored filling made of butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds.

TAGS: Bakery, French, Queens
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