Taste 10.10.19

Sweet Elena’s Artisan Bakery and Cafe

There are a few important decisions that affect one’s enjoyment of pecan pie.

The first involves pronunciation. It’s difficult, after all, to enjoy your dessert when the person next to you keeps babbling about “pee-cans” – that is if you are in the “peh-cahn” camp. Second (and just maybe a bit more important) is the syrup used for its filling.

At Sweet Elena’s Artisan Bakery and Cafe, Elena Salsedo opts for barley malt syrup – and rum – to mimic molasses. While it may be considered less common than the golden corn syrup version promoted by Karo Syrup starting in the 1920s, dark syrup carries a bitter, earthy load – weighted by impressions of birch and espresso – that linger on the palate and bring depth to bites of whole pecan. The dark syrup lacks the cloying sweetness of corn syrup, as well. So the pie seems lighter, even while it delivers more intense flavors. There’s another matter when considering a pecan pie. Some crumble nuts into the syrup mixture. But Sweet Elena’s goes with the more traditional approach here, layering just enough on top to give a mellow crunch. The filling – and the pecans – stand out.

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SWEET ELENA’S ARTISAN BAKERY and Cafe, 465 Olympia Ave., Sand City. 393-2063, sweetelenas.com

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