A typical menu will also feature a smattering of goods Bouguettaya produces with French flavors and techniques, Asian elements, or both. Recent offerings have included Chinese-inspired black sesame and mango financiers, matcha sablé cookies, Tunisian tortas with Swiss chard and leeks, and passionfruit or blood orange coconut meringue tarts. “In Algeria, we don’t really eat fresh fruit in pastries, so I like to incorporate fruits from other cultures when I bake. It’s a happy marriage, I guess.”
In general, Algerian pastries are not too sweet, consist of just one element—such as a golden fried or baked dough—and are often bathed in honey, and sprinkled with sesame, spices, or other seeds or nuts. “A lot of cinnamon, clove, and orange blossom water is used in the west side of Algeria,” where she is from, Bouguettaya says. Algerians typically eat these types of lightly sweetened, spiced treats for afternoon tea, an important part of the day in the region.