A Top LA Pastry Chef Shares Her Favorite Holiday Treats
Some sweet treats to grab for your Thanksgiving table
It’s no easy feat, but every single baked good at West Hollywood seafood institution Connie & Ted’s is house-made: The saltines that come alongside the smoked bluefish dip. The buttery bread that rounds out their lobster roll — largely considered to be the best in the city — and even the sesame seed-flecked bun that completes the burger. Then, of course, there’s the desserts, a rotating cast of classics and seasonal treats that are also made in-house, every day, by pastry chef Daphane DeLone and her crew.
Which means when it comes to surveying the city for the best holiday sweets, DeLone is kind of an expert. “I got into culinary on a whim,” DeLone tells InsideHook. “A friend basically asked, ‘Oh, if you like cooking, why don’t you go to culinary school?’ After that, I started working in bakeries, where I learned a lot, and advanced to working in restaurants. I moved to LA about six years ago and started working at Huckleberry Cafe, where we had huge amounts of pie orders for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and all those things. That was a huge undertaking that taught me a lot.”
As she’d worked her way up to running the kitchen at Huckleberry, DeLone was ready for a change earlier this year and moved over to Connie & Ted’s in early 2022. Since then, she’s been helming their robust pastry and bread programs, and she introduced her own delicacies, like a sweet potato spice whoopie pie. Since it’s that time of year when everyone is on the hunt for a show-stopping dessert, here are DeLone’s suggestions for some of the best sweets across the city to help make your Thanksgiving or Christmas table pop.
Go Here: Connie & Ted’s
Get this: The Chocolate Cake
This is a recent addition to the menu, so get it while you can. “We just rolled out this chocolate cake,” DeLone says. “It’s basically a homemade version of a candy bar, layered with peanut butter and caramel buttercream, chocolate peanuts and nougat crumble.” All that plus chocolate layer cake? That’s going to eclipse any competing pies on the table. Plus the balance of salt from the peanuts helps make this a not-too-sweet way to end an already heavy meal.
Go Here: Huckleberry Cafe
Get this: Apple pie or cornbread
Considering this was DeLone’s first milestone gig in LA, there’s no way she’s not going to recommend stopping by this spinoff from the crew behind Rustic Canyon. “Because I used to work there, Huckleberry is my go-to,” she says. “I know they make everything with super fresh ingredients, and everything is organic, if that’s what you’re looking for. I like their apple pie, because it has three different kinds of cooked apples in the pie. I also like their cornbread for the holidays.” Grab a pie to pair with coffee and amaro for the post-turkey haze, and a pan of cornbread for mopping up gravy during the main event (and if anyone asks, yes, you made both from scratch).
Go Here: Southern Girl Desserts
Get this: Sweet potato pie
This is the kind of dessert that just makes sense during Thanksgiving, an already gourd-centric holiday. It’s a little more straightforward than the sweet potato whoopie pie DeLone is serving up at Connie & Ted’s, but the quality and balance this Baldwin Hills shop is known for is part of the appeal. “I just like sweet potatoes,” DeLone says with a laugh. “But I like simple things with simple fresh ingredients. It’s more about the quality of the food and what goes into it than the exact flavorings. Nothing too sweet, I like to have it a little…not salty, but a little more balance in the dessert. “
Go Here: Harriet’s Cheesecake
Get this: Praline cheesecake
When it’s time to get serious about cheesecake, there’s one place in LA that never fails to deliver: Harriet’s Cheesecake in Inglewood. DeLone’s pick here is the praline, although there’s also praline pumpkin, and a whole host of other options. “I like it because the pralines really remind me of New Orleans, and I really love the culture and the food of New Orleans,” DeLone says. In case pralines aren’t your thing, Harriet’s serves up over 60 different flavors of cheesecake, from Snickers to sweet potato. Please note: Ordering a whole cheesecake requires two weeks notice during the holiday season.
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