Pastry shop named after chef's grandfather

September 18, 2009 (CHICAGO) In his case, he and his wife have opened a cozy little pastry shop, Fritz Pastry, 1408 W. Diversey Pkwy., named in honor of his grandfather, Fritz. He says one of the bakery's most popular items is the springerle cookie - from an old German recipe.

"My mom would make them every year, she would make them around winter time, but we would make them throughout the year," said Nathaniel Meads, Fritz Pastry.

The cookies are pretty simple, actually. Meads starts with eggs and powdered sugar, combining them in the bowl of a stand mixer. He then grates a considerable amount of lemon zest into the bowl. Those three ingredients are mixed well in the bowl, until they're fully incorporated. Then it's time for the flour, and the dough hook works a little harder to combine everything into a solid mass.

Once the dough is formed, it's rolled out, and Meads then rolls an antique cookie pattern over the dough, so each one has a unique picture on it. Finally, he sprinkles some anise seeds across a baking sheet - they have a faint resemblance to licorice flavor - and then he carefully removes the patterned cookies, placing them on top of the seeds just before baking. Once they're removed from the oven, they're the most delicate cookies with the slightest hint of anise flavor. Another popular treat is the gateau Breton, a French-inspired cake that again, has just four or five ingredients.

"It's butter, sugar, flour and egg yolks. That's really all that's in it. It's really dense," said Meads.

Another treat is the summer season cake-- drizzled with honey and topped with pine nuts, like many items here, it's not too sweet. Same goes for the addictive macarons - not macaroons, mind you. These French egg white and almond flour mini-cookie sandwiches come in about seven rotating flavors.

Tarts are also seasonal. Check out the blueberry if they have it. Meads says he's trying to offer European-inspired goodies that will appeal to a lot of his Lakeview customers.

"That's the stuff that I like to eat and that's the stuff that I hope people like to eat; my friends would want to eat."

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