Sunday, July 26, 2015

Swiss Bakery Kindli Haus for Apricot Pie

Kindli Haus exterior at 3423 White Oak
I was pleased and surprised to discover a relatively new Swiss Bakery in Houston - Kindli Haus on White Oak in the Heights. I had been a big fan of Andre's Swiss Pastry Shop in River Oaks for many years until it closed. They served the best croissants in town, hands down. My wife and I used to love to go there for lunch and have chicken salad sandwiches, tomato basil soup, and fruit mousse cakes. So I was pleased to learn that Andre's wasn't the first Swiss restaurant in Houston. The owner of Kindli Haus, Sylvia Lanz, was gifted an alpen horn from The Swiss Chalet that opened on N Post Oak back in the 1950s. I believe the owner as a child can be seen in the lineup in the photo below.

Kindli Haus offers breads, croissants, apple streudel, meat rolls, gingerbread men, and seasonal pies baked off-site only on Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Their bread-and-butter comes not from being a bakery but rather from teaching food classes like gingerbread house making and hosting raclette dinners from September until spring. Raclette dining is similar to fondue but involves melting the cheese raclette over bread with pickles, potatoes, and other vegetables.

An apricot pie was the seasonal special on my visit. I was aware of apricot pie being a regional favorite in California where a lot of apricots are grown, but didn't know is was a popular pie in Switzerland. Unlike peaches, fresh apricots are relatively unremarkable, but they transform into something delicious when they are roasted. Like most European bakeries (like Durham's Guglhupf) the baked goods are not heavily sweetened as American desserts. Their pies are more sweet-tart in character. I look forward to trying their prune pie in September.
Apricot pie on shortbread crust with almond paste

The owner has collected and been gifted a lot of fun Swiss decorations including handmade wooden serving trays, dolls, stuffed animals, cow bells, and cuckoo clocks.

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