William Leaman led the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA to victory in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie (World Cup of Baking) in 2005, and since then he’s been a winner with fans of his Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle.
Named “Nouveau” because fresh products keep coming out of the ovens throughout the day, this bakery has become a Seattle destination. Step into the bakery and you’ll inevitably find a line of people ogling the pastries, chocolates, and bread. Across from the showcases is a row of tables, perfect for sampling those pastries and more while they’re still warm.
The bread or chocolate alone are well worth a visit to Bakery Nouveau, but there’s no denying the pastries. This bakery is especially known for its Twice-Baked Almond Croissant, so that’s an automatic pick. But faced with a wide variety of fruit danishes, croissants, and much more, what to order? We’ve sifted through the standards and specialties to come up with five favorites to recommend, which you can see below.
As you enter the bakery, the line forms immediately along the showcases to your left, full of terrific treats to tempt you as you slide toward service.
Ask and almost all will tell—the best bet at Bakery Nouveau is the Twice-Baked Almond Croissant ($3.85). Made with almond cream, sliced almonds, and powdered sugar, this hefty croissant is sweet and sophisticated, and almost begging for a cup of coffee to go alongside.
Bakery Nouveau boasts several danishes, but I highly recommend the Pear Danish ($3.00). Does the shape of the fruit reinforce the pear flavor? I’m not sure, but this work of art features glazed pears atop a layer of vanilla pastry cream, so each bite is crispy, creamy, and fruity.
Bakery Nouveau’s Plain Croissant ($2.25) is the favorite of many in Seattle. While it’s not my number one pick for plain croissants in the area, it’s definitely top tier, with good crumb and crust contrast, flavor, and texture.
Deep inside Bakery Nouveau’s plain croissant for a look at the layers.
One of Bakery Nouveau’s more recent experimental discoveries is the Honey Bun ($3.35). While playing with honeycomb, the Nouveau team discovered they liked the combination of honey blended with butter, and decided to put it on the flaky exterior of a bun. While the overall flavor is fairly subtle, there are prominent notes of brown sugar and cinnamon.
If you’re searching for something a little more savory, but sweet in its own way, the Heirloom Tomato Croissant ($4.50) will call to you. This “tart” with croissant dough has both sun-dried tomato pesto and roasted heirloom tomatoes, along with fromage blanc, parmesan cheese, and some micro greens. The tomato and cheeses combine for an umami-packed delicacy that’s perfect any time of day.
(Originally published at Serious Eats on October 10.)