Mary Jayne Wilson, a Johnson & Wales Charlotte graduate, is the executive chef at Amelie’s French Bakery. The popular local chain now has 5 locations, including uptown and NoDa, where they serve up breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and an array of freshly baked traditional pastries, cakes, and macarons. Mary Jayne is busy this time of year whipping up holiday sweets for Amelie’s loyal customers, but she took a moment to tell us a little bit about what makes the decadent French-style baked goods so darn good this time of year.
What, if anything, is different about French desserts from the standard American holidays desserts?
American desserts tend to be less sweet than French desserts. They embrace the season’s ingredients more than American desserts. Standard American holidays usually involve lots of pies. We have many flavors of tarts, which could be considered the French sister of the American pie.
What seasonal goodies do you typically make?
One of our Christmas specific desserts is a “Beuche de Noel” or a Yule log. It is a fluffy chiffon roulade cake, with chocolate, coffee or hazelnut buttercream. It is decorated to look like a wooden log, garnished with chocolate leaves, meringue mushrooms, nuts and cranberries. It’s classic, but unique in how elaborately we decorate them. That is our holiday best seller. We also sell lots of custom cakes and 8″ tarts.
What flavors and tastes do you play with at the holiday time?
Some of my favorites, this season, are the spiced molasses and candied ginger French macaron. It tastes like gingerbread, with a surprise piece of candied ginger on the inside. We are also playing with hazelnut, vanilla and peppermint this season.
Tell us something special Amelie’s adds to the Charlotte food scene.
Our flagship store, in NoDa, offers all of our food and drinks 24 hours a day/7 days a week. That is certainly unique. The variety of offerings and our seasonal flavor changes,(every 4 months), add a lot to the Charlotte food scene.