Walking through the streets of Austin, TX this past weekend I stumbled upon a French brasserie and passeterie duo located in the center of downtown. It’s got that French technique mixed up Austin style.
I sat down with pastry chef, Melissa Carroll, to learn about the heart of Le Politique’s concept. The restaurant and bakery draw influence from local farmers, is technique-driven, and creative. Carroll says the team has a strong vision of where they want the brassiere to go.
Of course, the restaurant emphasizes french technique because it’s a French bakery, but the food has references from Texas, St. Louis (Carroll’s hometown) and the Midwest – making things a bit more modern than classic french bakeries.
The Perfect Fall Pastry
There are so many amazing pastries in the passeterie, but the mini-pumpkin bundt cake caught my attention. The cake is the perfect size, not overly sweet or dense. There’s a tangy rich glaze on top of the cake with a couple contrasting cranberries for texture. And then I was amazed when the barista said the item was gluten-free.
So, naturally, I inquired with Carroll about this mini pastry and her approach to gluten-free. Her love of pastry started in high school. She was misdiagnosed with celiac disease, so she was gluten-free for 2 years. There were not many gluten-free options in her hometown, St. Louis. Just a lot of chain restaurants. And she didn’t want to eat that way, with such limited options. So she started making a lot of gluten-free breads, etc. Then, she went on to study at The French Culinary Institute and learned everything she could about the french technique. Eventually, she found out she was not allergic to gluten, but the experience of a dietary restriction stayed with her.
“Having that loss in my life, it was just so depressing not being able to eat bread, pizza, pasta all the things I love so much. So being able to eat it again re-invigorated my love for cooking pastries as well.”
“There’s nothing worse than getting gluten free something or vegan something, and having a really bad experience with it and always associating those choices with bad food. I know how hard it is, and how common it is to have that, so just being able to accommodate anyone is really gratifying.”
Carroll says Le Politique has a gluten-free flour recipe, anything, like a cake or cupcake, we can always make an alternative. Of course, if you’re not gluten-free, enjoy all the pastries, gluten-free or not.
Here’s the ingredient list for the pumpkin cake!
- pumpkin puree
- grapeseed oil
- sorghum flour
- glutinous rice flour
- potato starch
- brown rice flour
- potato flour
- guar gum
- baking soda
- ground nutmeg
- ground clove
- ground ginger
- powdered sugar
- creme fraiche
- non fat milk powder
- lemon juice