For those who love French pastries but, unfortunately, aren’t going to be in Paris anytime soon, the next best thing is waiting for you right here, right now in Cleveland. It’s a boutique bakery called Coquette Patisserie — and it offers everything you’d ever expect to find in the most exquisite of Parisian bakeries!
Owner and executive pastry chef, Britt-Marie Culey, brings a wealth of experience and specialized training to her current role. Born and raised in Connecticut, Britt originally intended to follow a career in medicine. Armed with a degree in biology and pre-med from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, she headed to Portland, Oregon, to pursue a program there. However, she finally had to admit to herself that she would much rather be baking.
Once her mind was made up, Britt changed course and decided to follow a culinary path instead. She immediately enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland (formerly Western Culinary Institute), where she trained under an experienced French pastry chef. Upon graduation, she packed her bags and left for the South of France (naturellement!), where she worked in a charming local pastry shop called Au Petit Prince.
The States eventually beckoned, so she headed back, this time to Manhattan, where she worked at the award-winning Financier Patisserie. After a brief move back to Connecticut, Britt and her husband decided to make Cleveland home.
Although currently baking out of her kitchen in Cleveland Heights, Britt is looking to open a full retail shop in the near future. Her mouth-watering, decadent offerings include a dizzying array of traditional French desserts — from chocolate mousse cakes and citrus tarts, to cheesecakes and cream puffs, to the widely popular macarons and even wedding cakes. Seasonal and holiday desserts are also a big hit.
Britt is proud to say she makes everything from scratch, using only the highest quality, locally grown ingredients, including eggs, butter, and produce. She also makes her own custom essences and oils, which gives her greater control to experiment with different exotic flavorings.
You can find Britt every other weekend at the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square. She also takes orders by e-mail (email@example.com) or by phone (216.570.7193), both listed on her website. Just remember, she requires a 1-week notice.
A few local places that carry her delicacies include The Market Cafe on East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland and Rosander Kitchen in Berea. Britt also participates in area events, including Market Under Glass, plus other worthy fundraisers.
For a chance to make your own French pastry at home (albeit not even close to the sophisticated treats she offers at Coquette Patisserie), Britt is graciously sharing her recipe for Honey Madeleines with you. Bon appétit!
6 T. butter, softened
6 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
Pinch of salt
2 t. honey
1 c. flour
½ t. baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and honey. Add the eggs.
3. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture.
4. Let the mixture rest for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).
5. Prepare Madeleine mold trays by greasing and flouring twice (or use silicone molds).
6. Pipe the batter into the molds. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until light golden.
7. Cool slightly, unmold, and dust with powdered sugar.