November's Can't-Miss Dish

Clear Flour Bread Pumpkin Pavé
Credit: Brian Samuels Photography
By Ellen Bhang · 11/02/2020

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now.  

On the plate: Pumpkin Pavé

Where to find it: For nearly 40 years, Clear Flour Bakery has turned out gorgeous loaves and indulgent pastries that have earned it quite a reputation. So it’s no surprise that the bake shop is known beyond Boston’s borders. Its current co-owner, Nicole Walsh, was working at a pie shop in San Francisco when she first heard of it. Her boss at that shop had been an employee of the Brookline institution several years before, and spoke of it glowingly.

Walsh’s husband and business partner, Jon Goodman, grew up in Brookline. Back in 2015, his parents invited Christy Timon and Abe Faber, Clear Flour’s founders, over for coffee to meet Goodman and Walsh, who were visiting from the Bay Area. The four talked for hours. It turned out that Timon and Faber were keen to retire, and were looking for the right couple to take over the business. Things fell into place after that. “The last night of our honeymoon is when the deal became real,” recalls Walsh. “We got home, packed up our life in two weeks, and moved out here,” she says.

Notes on the nosh: Pumpkin Pavé, a signature bake of Timon’s, merges the best features of a pie and a cheesecake. The recipe calls for pureed pumpkin, sugar, spices, and eggs, and adds a generous dollop of cream cheese to the mix. “It’s not overly sweet because of the cream cheese, but it’s equally as rich—maybe even a little bit richer,” explains Walsh. A blend of ground hazelnuts, butter, and made-in-house brown sugar does double duty: it forms the dessert’s crust and serves as the crumbly topping for the custard filling. “So you get this hazelnutty, pumpkiny, rich cream-cheesy-amazing dessert,” she declares. “The hazelnuts really add a nice crunch to it as well.”

The pavé is on offer frequently in the weeks leading up to Turkey Day and into the winter. On the bakery’s website, click on the Thanksgiving Orders tab to pre-order a seven-inch-diameter size for pick-up on November 25; otherwise, click on Weekend Specials to confirm availability of that generous size or individual squares. Both sizes sell out quickly.

“It’s just something we can’t ever take off the menu,” says Walsh. “It’s like the pumpkin spice latte of our bakery.”

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