Dieting's a Drag. Treat Yourself to Some of Our Favorite Bite-Size Sweets at Local Spots. | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Dieting's a Drag. Treat Yourself to Some of Our Favorite Bite-Size Sweets at Local Spots. 

lucettegrace's Birthday Cake Macarons

Photo by Ben McKeown

lucettegrace's Birthday Cake Macarons

I'm a big believer in making lots of New Year's resolutions and forgetting them by Valentine's Day. I relish that fresh-start feeling, like slipping between just-washed sheets after a kick-your-butt day. New year, new me. Even if it's never true. This year, I resolve to meditate and practice yoga and run a marathon and volunteer here and there and everywhere—and stick to my anti-diet.

Remember that time you said no sugar—none!—and it was all well and good for a week and a half, and then out of nowhere you found yourself elbow-deep in a half-gallon of rocky road? (Who put this here? You? Me?!) Same. There's nothing worse than a New Year's diet. Especially after the worst year.

So, for 2017, let's not-diet together. Instead, let's learn to make fresh pasta instead of cutting carbs. Let's master a filthy-dirty martini. Buy that cookbook you keep eyeing and make every recipe in it. Blast music while making dinner. And have dessert. Always have dessert. Turn a tiny, sugary afternoon pick-me-up into a habit—or a lifestyle.

  • Photo by Alex Boerner
  • Loaf's Canelé

Loaf: canelé ($2.50)

Loaf experimented for almost nine months before getting the recipe just right. Canelés are now a staple at the bakery and a mysterious phantom at its stands at farmers' markets in Durham and Chapel Hill—there one minute, gone the next. Manager Mary Turner says customers often buy them all up at once. (PSA to canelé whisperers: Show yourselves. Be my friends.) Traditional to the Bourdeaux region in France, canelés are shot-glass-sized and bundt-cake-shaped, with a deep, dark, caramelized crust and a custardy center. Think popover meets crème brûlée—heavy on the vanilla, heavier on the rum. Loaf's version starts with a crêpe-thin batter, which, after being strained, chills for two full days. It is then poured into buttered, waxed copper molds from France and baked low and slow. After the canelés cool, they practically sell themselves. "People will ask at the market, 'What is that?'" Turner says. "But by the time I finish saying 'vanilla' and 'rum' and 'custard,' they've bought it."

lucettegrace: macaron ($2.25)

Patisserie lucettegrace makes up to 1,500 macarons every week. In other words, more than 75,000 every year. This meringue-based, French sandwich cookie trended in the States a few years ago; The Atlantic declared it "the new cupcake" in 2014. It is still the "cool" dessert at any party. (Who needs a wedding cake when you could have a massive, multicolored tower of macarons?) Lucettegrace rotates a selection of six varieties monthly. "We've got one flavor that's become our signature," owner Daniel Benjamin says. "For whatever reason." That would be Birthday Cake: one blue shell, one pink, filled with a mash-up of confetti birthday cake, vanilla mousse, and, in true French style, butter. (Who needs a "reason" when you have confetti birthday cake?) Other flavors of the moment include maple waffle, bourbon chestnut, chocolate Earl Grey, and pistachio raspberry.

Boulted Bread: pastel de nata ($2)

Baker Joshua Bellamy's wife's best friend was in Portugal when she stumbled upon one of the country's signature pastries—pastel de nata, or "custard tart"—and sent intel across the pond. Bellamy, one of three co-owners at Boulted Bread, started testing recipes and soon unrolled the petite treat on opening day in 2014. It's stayed on the bakery's weekend menu ever since. Traditionally, pastel de nata includes a crisp pastry shell filled with a rich custard and baked at a high heat until the top begins to brûlée. Boulted's rendition features its puff pastry—freshly milled einkorn flour and lots of cultured butter—with a bright, lemony, yolk-yellow custard. Each tart is finger-length, roughly two inches in diameter. "It's a perfect size to enjoy with a cup of coffee," Bellamy says. "You polish them both off and feel like a million bucks."

This article appeared in print with the headline "It's the Little Things."

  • Little things from Loaf, lucettegrace, and Boulted Bread will help you cut down on sugar without going cold turkey.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature

Twitter Activity


The Refectory is no longer on the Duke Campus. Their new, permanent location is on Chapel Hill Blvd, and yes …

by Beth Owl's Daughter on The Refectory Cafe (Durham County)

Food was good. Service was extremely poor last night. Server had to be reminded too many times to bring a …

by robbo on Blu Seafood & Bar (Durham County)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Jesus Vasquez - I don't want to speak for Monica Segovia-Welsh, featured in this story as one-half of the business, …

by victoria_foodeditor on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

As for the previous post, please explain the difference between "appropriating" and celebrating/appreciating different cultures.

by Barbara 2 on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

Another White boy appropriates Latino culture. But it's cool, cause he's against HB2, supports the protestors at Standing Rock, and …

by Jesus Vasquez on Chicken Bridge Bakery Feeds Bodies and Minds with Baked-In Messages of Resistance and Solidarity (Food Feature)

While I hate to see local/small farmers get hurt, the problem that could eliminate it would be to stop the …

by Barbara 2 on Trump’s New USDA Pick Is Making It Harder for N.C. Farmers to Survive (Food Feature)

WHY cut down those 50 ft. pine trees, dude??????

by Phyllis Nunn on Raleigh Artist David McConnell's Infinity Hundred Is a Biodiverse Alternative to Big Agriculture (Food Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation