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Dessert Goes East

Delicious pastries and rich breads

make Canaan Bakery a sweet spot

Typically Asian cuisine is not associated with dessert and pastries so I was delighted by the deliciousness of the breads and pastries I found at Canaan Bakery and Cafe in Hicksville. Savory and sweet buns, Danish and Korean pastries, cookies and very good coffee can be enjoyed at the café, which is located at the entrance of the H&Y Supermarket. This is the Nassau County outpost of the four Canaan bakeries—the other three are in Flushing.

The patriarch of the family, Seung Gu Kim, arrived in the US in the late 1980s. He had been a baker in Korea and took up his profession here in New York, opening his first bakery in 1990 with this wife Il Rye Kim. Their adult children are involved in the business. Ki Young, who attended the International Culinary School, bakes the Danish at one of the shops in Flushing; Ki Yong, who went to the French Culinary Institute, takes care of the bills and the accounting. Their sister, Kay Kim, is in charge of quality control.

Kay Kim says that the small buns are the most popular, and after tasting them, I could see why. The Danish is filled with red beans, mocha cream, butter cream or custard cream. One variety is topped with crumbs. The breads are larger versions of the buns.

The pastries at Canaan bring together Korean ingredients and European techniques. Discussing the cakes with my guru for Asian food, Robert Han, the vice president of H&Y Supermarket, we came up with the word “gentle” to describe the pastries, not a usual word when talking about food. “Koreans like their bread lighter and fluffier,” said Han.

Canaan offers two over-sized buns—a macaroon, made with walnuts and almond paste, and green tea bread with chestnut, walnut and raisins. “People are always coming back for the macaroon,” says Kay Kim, who estimates that 60 percent of the customers are Asian, 40 percent Western. “The two big ones are most popular with Westerners,” she says.

You can also get typical Korean cookies at the bakery—white bean and chestnut, red bean and walnut, and chestnut, plus layered cakes.

Canaan, at 478 Plainview Rd., is open seven days a week.