Heard of Jamaican beef patties? I'm sure you have. The yellow dough meat pies are a staple of Jamaican bakeries and a quintessential handheld street food; but they aren't the only patties in town.
Forget them. Let me introduce you to a Haitian beef patty.
Haitian patties differ from their Jamaican counterparts primarily in the dough. The Haitian style have more of a pastry dough feel to them, as their dough is layered and flaky. The technical term is laminated - the dough is covered in fat and then folded on top of itself and re-rolled until the baker has reached a level that he likes. A technique undoubtedly influenced by the French, who colonized Haiti.
I stumbled upon Ultimate Bakery, a Haitian bakery, while out enjoying Caribbean Flatbush. (I can still explore and find new things even after 15 years!)
This self described "American Haitian Baked Goods" boasts cakes, pies, tarts, patties, croissants, and daily baked fresh bread.
No frills and straight to the point, this bakery left a lot to the imagination. A basic white sign and store front, very little product in the window, and only biscuits visible from the street led me right past this bakery.
Then the smell hit me.
I immediately turned around and stepped inside the tiny store. Middle aged Haitian men and women made up the total 5 people in this bakery; and three of them were employees.
The dough was flaky and crisp with a nice chew and pleasant, well-rounded springiness. It was no problem at all that it took two or three bites to get some filling. The beef was spare, but was lightly and thoughtfully spiced with a very soft mouth feel. The patty was fantastic overall, and only cost $1. It was a great start to my morning, and would have gone very well with some strong hot coffee.
I was constantly snapping pictures of this patty but before long I was only holding crumbs.