Concocted by executive pastry chef Susana Querejazu, the Eater Young Gun curates seasonally-inspired baked goods for the brunch crowd, rotating between several different pastries, available only once a week.
Everything is freshly baked that morning. The slate usually contains a danish, kouign amann, and a chocolate croissant. For the most part, there are between 80 to 100 made every week.
"Sometimes, it takes me a little while to figure it out," Querejazu said of determining what pastries will make the cut. She splits her time between Odd Duck and Barley Swine (where she is also executive pastry chef).
Fillings and variations are all inspired by what’s available at the farmer’s market that specific week. For fall, this means apples ("so so lovely right now"), potatoes, and eggplant. It’s not time for squash yet, but she does predict pumpkin pie fillings in the near future. Previous pastries have included the popular blueberry kolache and anything with tomato and cheese because it "tastes like pizza."
The pastry tray wasn’t always available at Odd Duck. "I put a lot of sweat into it," Querejazu explained. The restaurant used to serve pastries in what she refers to as a "dim sum-style, where you hand out" the baked goods but she wasn’t a fan of that method because it’s "not as good when you don’t heat them up." She continued, "It sucks when you have a product that could be ten times better." And that’s what she did with the pastry tray: showing her baked goods in the best way possible.
Here, Querejazu breaks down what pastries are available on a particular October Sunday morning. She adds, "This little brunch tray is my baby, I care about it a lot."
Kale and Chevre Danish
Danishes are "so beautiful and pretty accessible" to Querejazu, so the pastry remains a regular on the tray. This particular version comes filled with kale and chevre cheese, topped with sesame and caraway seeds.
The French-forward crisper cousin to the croissant, the kouign amann quickly became a regular on Odd Duck’s pastry tray because it’s "pretty special." When it’s ready to be served, the pastry is reheated and then filled with a pear or apple butter, for an extra layer of flavor.
Pain Au Chocolat
Querejazu is proud of the chocolate croissant because "it’s gotten to a really good point." It’s a classic, and who doesn’t like chocolate? Her personal go-to is actually the plain butter croissant, which doesn’t often make the tray because it doesn’t sell as much.
Sweet Potato Pie Kolache
This kolache is made with sweet potato. A mixture of the vegetable, along with sugar, butter, and cream is piped right into the pastry, making it taste exactly like a sweet potato pie. It’s topped with maple syrup when it’s ready to be eaten.
Butter Poached Apple Danish
With this particular danish, Querejazu was going for "a play on the hasselback potato," with the way the poached apple’s slices rest in a group on the pastry bed. The cuts were made so that every bite was "not too toothsome," and "nice and easy to tear into," she explained.
Catch Odd Duck's essential brunch every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.