FOUND: Rose De Matteo of New Haven wrote, “Could you request the recipe for the cheese filling used in the danish at Marjolaine Pastry Shop on State Street in New Haven?”
Rose, you are in luck since Arlene Cardenas, the owner of the Marjolaine Pastry Shop, 961 State St., New Haven, www.marjolainepastry.com, was happy to share the recipe.
Marjolaine is no newcomer to New Haven. It has been around for 40-plus years, albeit under different ownership over the years. Arlene has owned the bakery for 7 years, although in total she has spent 21 years there, learning all aspects of the business from Rusty, the previous owner.
How she started is like a fairy tale.
She lived across the street from the bakery as a pre-teen. Her brother worked there and was always late to work. One day he was fired, and 14-year-old Arlene ran across the street to ask if she could have her brother’s job. She wanted more than working the cash register. Her eyes were on what the bakers were doing and wanted to learn what they did. She learned how to prepare the repertoire of cakes and pastries by helping the bakers. One day Arlene said to Rusty, “I want your job.” He said, “OK, come in at 5 a.m. tomorrow.”
She did, and after two days working with Rusty, she was on her own. Eight years ago, Rusty told Arlene that he was tired. “Step up or down,” he said. She stepped up, and was given a year to run the bakery by herself and see whether she liked it. The rest is history; at 29 years old she bought Marjolaine from Rusty, who was like a father to her. Her 15-year-old daughter, Ryannie, helps at the register and assists in the kitchen, too. Perhaps, she will be the next generation in running the bakery — daughter like mother?
Replicas of the Eiffel tower, in all sizes and colors, adorn the shelves, the pink one being her favorite. Customers bring her the statues to add to her collection. Although Arlene has never been to Paris, the Eiffel Tower means something special to her. Perhaps because of the bakery’s namesake and the pastries they sell.
In addition to cakes, cupcakes and pastries, including of course, danish, special occasion and wedding cakes are a specialty. Breakfast sandwiches are made to order, Ashley’s ice cream is sold, and Melt artisan chocolates of Milford are available, too. Arlene’s best friend, Meredith, started Melt at the bakery and has since opened her own shop.
Stop in for a free cup of coffee now throughout August. Just mention this column. The bakery will be closed from Aug. 4-14 for a well-deserved vacation.
Now for the recipe. Arlene said the key to the success of the recipe is the timing of mixing the ingredients. Note: No licking the bowl — the raw eggs aren’t cooked until it is baked into the pastry.
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Mix at high speed for 1 minute or just until all is incorporated. The mixture should not be shiny. Fold by hand with a spatula. Use filling in your favorite Danish dough recipe, frozen puff pastry or filo dough. For those ambitious to make their own dough, my friends at America’s Test Kitchen provided a dough recipe at https://bit.ly/2M7XPdw.
Curious to know about Danish history, I found out it was Claudius Gelee, a French baker who forgot to add butter to the flour. Instead, he improvised, placing pieces of butter between layers of the dough and then folded it in, to incorporate it into the dough. He opened a shop in Paris, serving his creation founded by a mistake, the French called “a thousand leaves.” He then opened shop in Florence where the Italians called it “folded pastry.” The pastry “traveled” to Austria and then to Denmark, where it became known as Danish. It was a latecomer to the United States, where it was a Danish baker, Lauritz Klitteng, who prepared the pastry for President Woodrow Wilson’s wedding in 1915. Whatever the chronology was, I enjoy a freshly made cheese Danish with a robust cup of coffee, especially on a Sunday morning. Now, head over to Marjolaine to get yours.
North Branford Potato & Corn Festival Aug. 2-4, (Friday 5-11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.), Auger Field (Route 22, North Branford). Wine and beer garden, amusement rides, live music, craft, signature roasted corn and potatoes, and many food vendors, a car and motorcycle show, tractor pulls, hay rides, cornhole tournament, a 5K race and Saturday night fireworks. Details at nbpotatofest.com.
Milford Craft Beer Tour, Aug. 3 and 17, $15 includes shuttle transportation between venues, one free 8-ounce pour each at Tribus and Milford Point and 25 percent off the tab at SBC. Three sessions to choose from on each of the dates; tickets must be pre-purchased online at https://bit.ly/2xFvjY7.
Kids Culinary Camp — Little Italy, (ages 5+), Aug. 5-9, 10 a.m.-noon. Chef’s Emporium, 449 Boston Post Road, Orange, $250. Reservations 203-799-2665. Kids will participate in hands-on classes under the guidance of expert chef instructors. They will be creating and eating recipes each day that focus on Italian foods. For the week’s agenda and tickets, visit https://bit.ly/30Rl0Ne.
Barbecue in Paradise, Aug. 14, 6-8 p.m., Paradise Hills Winery, 15 Wind Swept Hill, Wallingford, 203-469-4218; $66. There is nothing for a wine lover that beats having a tasting at a winery. Add a barbecue and it is like heaven on earth. We will try 8 of their award winning wines accompanied by a copious barbecue catered by Pig Rig also of Wallingford. More details and tickets at https://bit.ly/2LHOOsa.
Consiglio’s Demonstration Cooking Class: Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included), https://bit.ly/2Nd0xAg. Menu: Homemade Pizza with Burrata and Prosciutto, Baby Lettuces with Feta, Strawberries and Almonds, Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Lemon Caper Pasta, Nutella Cream Puff Pastry.
Consiglio’s Murder Mystery Dinner: “Deadlier Games” Aug. 16, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, reservations at 203-865-4489, https://bit.ly/2O3TQzQ, $65 includes dinner and show (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). An interactive comedy show that goes on throughout the evening during a 3-course meal. Cast mingles table to table, dropping clues for a mystery only you can solve. Wear your most outrageous hat.
45th annual Milford Oyster Festival Aug. 17, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m, downtown Milford. 30,000 oysters from Briarpatch Shellfish Co., food for purchase, craft beer and wine, children’s entertainment, schooner cruises and live music by headliners For entertainment and event schedule, visit milfordoysterfestival.com.