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I don't care for lemon and I'm rarely in Abbotsford, but this little wonder has me re-thinking both of those things.
One of the perks of working at a magazine is that, on occasion, food just shows up on the big table in our department, and the frequency with which this occurs goes into overdrive over the holidays. Such was the backdrop last Wednesday when, after an interminable drought when nothing appeared on the table for two entire days, there appeared a pastry box sent to my co-worker, Julia Dilworth. Beside it were chocolates on a stick in the shape of feet, which, other than the chocolate part, seemed ill conceived in at least two different ways.But when I looked in the open box, there was what looked like a very fancy lemon danish. I’m not a fan of lemon (except when it’s peel is in a martini or it’s juice is in a sidecar). Lemon Meringue Pie belongs in the pantheon of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald as the most terrible three-banger phrases of all time. On the other hand: free food.Of course I ate it. And it was…amazing. The pastry had a nice heft to to so that it didn’t wilt when picked up, but when I bit into it was unbelievably light. And while it was flaky, it wasn’t stupidly so such that you were covered in crumbs after a few bites. And even the lemon was a perfect balance between sweet and tart, with a consistency just firm enough to be practical, but soft enough to delight. Geez, what a pastry.It turns out it was, in fact a lemon danish, and I love that Duft & Co. Bakehouse didn’t try to give it some fancy-pants sounding French name, because, when made with this level of pastry skill, there’s nothing at all wrong with a danish. I went on the website of Duft & Co and learned the pastry chef (my guess is she calls herself a baker) is Cassandra Crocco, who along with partner Tyler Duft, owns the joint in historic downtown Abbotsford (I also learned that Abby has a historic downtown). The two met while working at Cin Cin, and Tyler handles the savoury, Cassie the sweet—and they’ll shortly celebrate three years in the Valley.The Lemon Danish from Duft & Co.—the best thing I ate all week.