At this time of year, everyone loves baking – the Great British Bake Off is on our screens, so it’s never far from our thoughts.
In a quiet corner of Edinburgh’s Stockbridge, they are taking baking to a different level, as The Pastry Section has launched a new ‘cosy menu’ for autumn.
Available until the end of November, the limited-edition menu consists of bakes made up of classic autumnal flavours.
Upon arrival, my companion and I were blown away by the beautiful scent of cakes and bakes which wafted through the air. If this smell could be captured in candle form, this is one I’d have burning constantly. It’s that lovely.
The interior is great – it’s almost minimal, but with a homely feel to it, with simple but effective decor. It’s given a homely feel with mini Polaroids on the wall, showing lots of smiling, happy people, enjoying the bakes.
The cake counter is exactly what you’d hope for, waiting for you at the pearly gates. They’re laid out, beautifully presented, with a wide selection of beautiful produce on offer. There’s a variety in the design and presentation, and you can tell that these are baked with love.
The autumnal menu features new additions, including sticky toffee pudding cake, pumpkin pie, ginger cake squares and caramel apple loaf.
My companion chose the sticky toffee pudding – it’s her favourite – while I opted for the caramel apple loaf. Just to push it, as a fan of s’mores, I added Smores tartlet to complete the deal.
The sticky toffee pudding cake had my companion in ecstacy. She raved about the frosting, which was sweet and sticky, but not to the point of being sickly, and didn’t leave you having to scrape it off at the end and leave some behind. The texture was what you’d want – it maintained its structure, until you broke it down with your fork, and the crumb was perfect.
My choice was the caramel apple loaf. Apple pie is one of my favourite desserts, and, having tried my own baking in the past, know how difficult it is to get apple correctly infused into a baking mix without it becoming watery and ruining the rest of the bake. It was beautifully flavoured – the apples were there, as was the caramel taste, without either overpowering the other. Like the sticky toffee pudding cake, the frosting was the right side of sweet, and full of taste.
The s’mores tart was just heavenly. The marshmallow topping was more gooey than solid, which was lovely and unexpected, and the chocolate was lovely and rich. As for the pastry, it was just what I look for – crumbling when broken by the fork, but maintaining its structure to contain the chocolate.
After we had finished, my companion noticed a book on the shelves. It was a look at some of the most beautiful spots in and around Edinburgh, with beautiful homes and flowers, and it was absolutely in keeping with the feel of The Pastry Section. Warm and homely.
The staff were friendly and helpful, and informed us that with bakes changing daily, there are lots of new treats to look out for. Sadly, I missed some of the more unusual bakes like doughnut muffins filled with summer glut jams.
Our bakes were accompanied by a luxurious hot chocolate, which I later discovered was from local chocolatiers Edward & Irwyn. What appealed most to us were the Pastry Section’s own homemade chai marshmallows which topped the drinks. These are worth the trip alone. I love my hot chocolate, but this is one of the most decadent and delicious I have ever had. My companion agreed – she had planned to have a coffee, but the marshmallow saw her change her mind, and it was definitely the correct choice.
Since opening in May 2017, The Pastry Section has become a firm favourite with Stockbridge locals, and it’s easy to see why, especially as it has championed other local businesses, helping to foster a sense of community with both suppliers and customers. The coffee is from local roasters, Mr Eion and Santu, and the tea is from local business shibui, and wherever possible the Pastry Section use local suppliers for their ingredients.
Lesley Stewart, owner of The Pastry Section, added: ‘I can’t wait for our customers to try our new autumn menu. As always, everything is baked in-house with an ever-changing display, drawing inspiration from the seasons and the produce that is readily available at this time of year. That’s why our cosy autumn menu is focused on delicious, rich flavours like pumpkin, pecan and caramel.
‘Over the past two years, I’m so proud of how the shop has grown. It still maintains the friendly and relaxed atmosphere we’ve had since day one, and remains an undaunting space where the bakes evoke memories and create moments of happiness.’
The Pastry Section, 86 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, EH4 1HH
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm, and Sunday, 9am to 6pm.