Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Bakery House

I've recently written at some length about baked goods in the context of heat damaged wine. But today I'm here to tell you about baked goods in the more conventional context. Cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, scones... you get the picture. Wine guys do eat dessert... at least this one does. And while the high pastry arts have their place, it's more down to earth, homey, fresh from the hearth goodies that I'd more poignantly miss were I stranded on the proverbial desert (no pun intended) island.

It’s the better part of fifteen years now, not long after moving to the Philadelphia area, that I first walked through the doors of The Bakery House. I can’t remember now whether someone had recommended it or whether I was just drawn by the cozy, no-nonsense appearance of the place. No matter… it’s been a favorite destination of mine ever since.

Situated on an otherwise generic commercial strip of Lancaster Avenue on the eastern edge of Bryn Mawr, PA, The Bakery House specializes in homegrown desserts made the way your grandmother might have made them if she had way more time and way more practice. Ingredients tend to be simple – eggs, flour, lots of butter, the occasional dash of spice and other things wholesome. So do appearances – special occasion cakes are well decorated but nothing is ever lavish or shiny. Most importantly, everything seems to be made with lots of love. Walk in anytime of day and you’ll just about always find staff members hard at work in the partially open kitchen, rolling out dough, mixing batter or pulling something fresh from the oven.

The Bakery House doesn’t do bread. They don’t make croissants, pain au chocolat or any other form of French influenced pastry. Nothing Italian either. Their specialty is just good old American breakfast and dessert oriented baked goods. Not everything is perfect, of course. I prefer my wife’s scones to theirs (when I can convince her to make a batch), and their scrumptious double-chocolate cookies tend to fall apart on their way from bag to mouth. But those are barely blips on the gripe radar. Their cookies in general are delicious, molasses spice being a personal favorite. Coconut layer cake, German chocolate cake and simple butter-cream birthday cakes are all hard to beat – rich, moist, eminently satisfying but never over-the-top. The Jewish apple cake and cinnamon coffee cake were both staples back in my days of corporate breakfast meetings. And their deep dish, full crust apple pie ranks among the best I’ve ever tasted. You can even pick up a decent cup of coffee there, Corsica from Philadelphia-based La Colombe Torrefaction being their house brew.

My point, really, is short and sweet. If you find yourself in or around the eastern Main Line, you’ll do well to pay The Bakery House a visit. Thereafter, I’m guessing you’ll hear it calling your name anytime you pass nearby.

The Bakery House
604 W. Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 [map]
Bakery House on Urbanspoon


David Lee said...

I am really picky about bakeries. I lived in Paris, where I was use to the most delicious cakes and pasteries, I have to say that I love the Bakery House.

David McDuff said...

Hi David,
That's a tough yardstick, as there are so many great patisseries in Paris. What The Bakery House does, though, is uniquely American. Glad to hear you like it.

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