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Most Divine Brioche 

Masse's Pastries

Most people wander into Masse's and think it's a cake shop, but to those in the know it's also one of the best places in town for a morning fix of coffee and pastries. Masse's puts the continent back in Continental breakfast. Nowhere in the land can you find real, buttery, flaky brioche like the ones Paul Masse tenderly bakes each day. Made in generous tins so that each one is more than a handful, they rival those made by the best pastry chefs in the specialty's mother country, France. Brioche has some similarities to challah bread but is a bit sweeter and a bit drier. The top of the brioche needs to be crisp and golden brown. It is best enjoyed with apricot or fig preserves and hot coffee. In France, rocks of sugar are often added, but Masse's brioche need no such childish crutch; they are divine in their simplicity. Brioche has a short life. It comes out of the oven and cools to perfection within minutes. Four hours later, the thrill is gone. So get to Masse's early: He opens at 8 a.m. every day except Tuesday.

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