Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pralines - Satisfying any Sweet Tooth

Pralines - 3 Liberty Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

During our New England visit, our friends Rory and Darren told us about their favorite bake shop in town. Being a sucker for dessert, I gravitated to it right away and actually paid them two visits out of the three days that we were there. By the end, I was on a first name basis with one of its friendly owners, Ron. I hope that I return there one day to say hello and to taste those delicious pastries again.

Tarts and Tartletts:
Pralines specializes in tarts and they sell them in regular portions and in minis (tartletts). Throughout my visits, I bought three different kinds of tarts - the macadamia & chocolate chunk, bourbon pecan and the toasted coconut cream. Unfortunately, I only tasted the toasted coconut cream because I gave the other two out as gifts. But if the others had even a fraction of the flavor that the coconut had, they were damn good.

The coconut was plentiful and as fresh as could be, while the cream inside was light and fluffy. It didn't leave you with a heavy feeling that you can sometimes get from rich desserts. My friends spoke very highly of this particular dessert and I now know why.

The Cookies:
I was excited to see that Pralines offered a version of my favorite cookie, the Linzer Tart. They were shaped beautifully, and didn't look like your traditional Linzer--they definitely had unique texture to them. Once I tasted them, I was hooked. The cookie itself was slightly crunchy but a little bit soft too. And unlike a traditional Linzer, which has fruit preserves sandwiched inside, this one had a neat little circle of preserves nestled in the middle, making it easier to handle.

Deciding to also go the more traditional route, I ordered a chocolate chip cookie, which looked super good. However, I was disappointed, as the cookie was hard and not as tasty as it looked.

Chocolate Truffle Torte:
This was the piece-de-resistance that our friends raved about. It included a decadent, flourless chocolate torte that needed to be heated slightly before serving. After putting it in the microwave for 38 seconds as Ron suggested, it was perfect. Oozing with a semi-sweet chocolate middle, it was as rich as it could get. Every spoonful felt blissful and I think that Dan, Peter and Grant who I shared this with were also in pure heaven. This was by far Pralines' stand-out dessert.

As most shops in Newburyport--a quaint little town with charm--Pralines' goodies come at a premium. For a box filled with 1 coconut tart, 1 chocolate truffle torte and three cookies, my grand total was $16. But like most good things in this world, it was 100% worth it!

3 Mmmms

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