When we think of pastries, flaky baked goods with chocolate, almonds, and fruit usually come to mind. And while The Baker's Grove in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, sells standard sweet pastries, but they also make a strong case for taking pastries in a savory direction.
Culinary Director Chris Gianfrancesco says the philosophy of their pastries is "seasonal, savory, and decadent." Everything they sell is made in-house. The process is a time-consuming labor of love.
First, they start by making the pastry dough. What sets their recipe apart from other versions is vinegar, which adds a little acid to the finished pastry and ensures that it stays tender and flaky. Next comes lamination, which is the process of folding the dough with a big piece of cold butter. Gianfrancesco emphasizes that the butter needs to stay extra cold up until they bake it. When the layers of butter hit the hot oven, they create steam and puff up the pastry.
Once the laminated dough is super-chilled, they place portion-sized squares into a muffin tin and prick the bottom with a fork. Then comes the filling. For their Tikka Masala pastry filling, they roast chicken with curry spices before tossing it in a tomato and coconut sauce. The finished pastry is topped with pickled red onions and fresh chives.
Their cheeseburger pastry filling starts with a simple base of ground beef, which gets mixed with bacon, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions. After it's baked into the pastry, Gianfrancesco decorates the top with their homemade secret sauce and a pickle slice.
After your savory pastry, you can have a sweet pastry for dessert. Next time you're in New Jersey, The Baker's Grove is an absolute must-try.
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