I have popped into this adorable bakery cafe on a previous visit to New York City and was immediately enamored with the European vibe of the place and also the delicious food. It's no surprise that you feel immediately transported to a European bakery when you walk into LPQ. The bakery began in Belgium when Alain Coumont decided to create a place that served the kind of fresh bread that he loved as a child. In the late 1990's he opened his US flagship location in New York and today there are over 200 LPQ locations around the world.
Last week I had the fun opportunity to join a handful of other food bloggers for a special cooking class with Anna Boisture, Head Baker & Instructor at LPQ's Bleecker Street Bakery in New York. We met at LPQ's West Loop location (located on the corner of Clinton and Randolph on the edge of the French Market), which will house the main bakery for all three Chicago LPQ cafes. The Night at the Bakery was such a great way for us to learn-- hands on-- about LPQ's menu, process, and mission... and to learn a few new kitchen tricks!
And before I tell you about what we actually cooked, I wanted to share the above photo of the beautiful snack spread that the folks at LPQ put out for us. How amazing is that?! I made sure to sample pretty much everything and found a few favorites: the Hazelnut Flûte (an amazing baguette filled with chunky hazelnuts and plump raisins, the spicy harissa spread, and an amazing whipped feta spread.
We started the evening by doing a little bit of baking. On the menu: a modern take on a summer berry shortcake. We baked our own quinoa and spelt biscuits, a fun new grain spin on a classic shortcake. And then we topped them with homemade coconut chia seed pudding and fresh macerated berries.
It was so pretty and tasted amazing. It was even a little healthier than your average dessert, which was great since I spent so much time snacking on the breads and spreads!
Next up, we made fresh and springy tartine-- an open faced sandwich. We all paired up to create different components of the sandwich. Erin and I were tasked with making the sweet green pea hummus. It was really easy to put together and the result was a hummus with a beautiful bright color and fresh sweet taste. We spread the hummus on huge slices of bread and topped with fresh peas, crumbled bacon, sliced radish, and a little mint for a light and delicious meal.
You can scroll on down to find the recipe for this delicious tartine. I highly recommend recreating this on a warm spring or summer day when peas are in season. You could also top with a little shaved Parmesan too!
Aaaaaaand... Deal alert! If you're interested in taking a class at LPQ, you are in luck! Their other US bakeries are regularly offering classes ranging from pastries to pretzels to desserts and their Chicago West Loop location will be doing the same soon! If you're planning on signing up for a class, be sure to use code LPQ107 to receive a $10 discount off the cost of your course!
LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN Pea, Pancetta & Radish Tartine
For the pea hummus--
- 1 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen peas, defrosted
- 2 Tbs. tahini
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- black pepper
- 4 thin slices of pancetta
- 4 radishes cut into slivers
- 8 mint leaves, chopped
- 4 Tbs. shelled peas
For the pea hummus, put the peas, tahini, olive oil, salt and black pepper into a food processor or use a handheld blender to blend in short bursts of 10-15 seconds, until you have a smooth purée.
To serve, spread the pea hummus on the bread, then top with the pancetta, radishes, mint and peas.
*Editor's Note: The Night at the Bakery class and meal was hosted by Le Pain Quotidien and Zapwater Communications. The opinions expressed here are my own.