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New York’s Top Classic Desserts

Balthazar
80 Spring St., at Crosby St.
(212) 965-1785

This classic French bakery brims with exquisite breads, cakes, pastries and other treats. But the sleeper here is the splendidly moist bread pudding ($4.) Made with the bakery’s own cherry focaccia, this cake can be eaten like a fruit-filled muffin, but far creamier and denser with an unbeatable cinnamon essence.

Fat Witch Bakery
Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave. @ 15th St.
New York, NY 10011
1-888-41 WITCH
www.fatwitch.com

You’d be hard pressed to find a denser brownie in the city. These insanely  decadent squares are worth every calorie.  If you’re not a chocolate person, there’s also a stellar blondie.  Described as a chocolate chip cookie in brownie form, it’s a cube of chewy perfection ($1.40.)  The white chocolate Snow Witch, Red Witch (cherry), and Breakfast Witch (oatmeal, nuts and coffee) are other unusual takes on the classic brownie for $2.75 each.

Tisserie

857 Broadway @ 17th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 463-0847
www.tisserie.com

Stacks of flaky puff pastry and heavenly cream are the key parts to making an exquisite napoleon, a dessert that this corner patisserie does to delicious proportions.  Surrounded by toasted almonds and topped with a web-like pattern of vanilla and chocolate icing, this napoleon commands to be eaten for $5.50 a slice.

Chikalicious
203 E. 10th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995-9511
www.chikalicious.com/

Dishing out sweets with grace and precision, this tiny dessert bar is beloved for its $12 prixe-fixe menu, which includes an amuse bouche, petit fours, and a choice of a main plate. Go with the tangy fromage blanc “island cheesecake,” which pairs perfectly with a Sauternes.

Otto Pizzeria e Enoteca

1 5th Avenue @ 8th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 995-9559
www.ottopizzeria.com/

Gelato is the definitive dessert at Otto, and there are a plethora of flavors to prove it. Ranging from hazelnut straciatella to fresh ricotta and olive oil, the pistachio, which has a mellow beige color without the fake green hue, may be the best.  Rich and incredibly creamy, it has the intense flavor of roasted pistachios and a hint of almond, and is even better served on a thick and sweet brioche bun ($3.50).

Amai
171 3rd Avenue btwn. 16th & 17th Sts.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 863-9630
www.amainyc.com

Tea and the flavors of Japan are incorporated into the light desserts at this serene café and bakery. One of the most interesting products is the seasonal fruit brownie, with lychee being a particular favorite. Moist, fudgy yet cakey, the dark chocolate brownie is decked with pieces of real fruit, which add a floral sophistication to the classic treat.  Have a bite in the secluded seating area with a cup of one of the café’s many teas, especially the fruity Fiji green tea.

Batch
150B W 10th St. @ Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-0250

The take-out offspring of p*ong, this beautiful pink and gold bakery offers treats that combine Eastern and Western flavors, particularly the mango chai tiramisu pudding ($4.50.) A foundation of pureed mango is topped with angelic sponge cake, chai-flavored cream, and fresh whipped cream with chocolate shavings.

Lady M Confections
41 E 78th St. btwn Madison & Park Aves.
New York, NY 10021
(212) 452-2222
www.ladymconfections.com

This French pastry boutique features photogenic and classically pleasing confections.  While Lady M is known for its milles crepe cake, a combination of twenty crepes layered with vanilla custard, it does a particularly enticing mont blanc for $7.50.  Packed in a white box, it’s a white chocolate cup filled with real whipped cream and surrounded by a sweet chestnut puree, topped with a soft marron glace.

Payard Bistro
1032 Lexington Ave. btwn 73rd & 74th Sts.
New York, NY 10021
(212) 717-5252

www.payard.com

With so many beautiful desserts to choose from, it’s hard for a patron to make a decision at this classic French bakery.  However, one jewel of a cake is the
Sicilien ($6), a sponge cake topped with cream cheese mousse and filled
with a cranberry gelee. Surrounding it are ground pistachios, and the
entire pastry is topped with a buttery shortbread crumble. It’s small
and refined, yet outrageously tasty.

Eileen’s Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place, at Kenmare & Centre Sts.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-5585

eileenscheesecake.com/
This small corner bakery produces an incredibly creamy cheesecake in
many varieties, such as cappuccino and pumpkin.  For those
seeking a more traditional flavor, there’s a cheesecake with four fruit
toppings in one: pineapple, cherry, strawberry and blueberry. The
sweetness of the fruit is balanced by the richness of the cake, as well
as the buttery, nutty crust that lies beneath.

Caffe Reggio
119 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 475-9557

www.caffereggio.com

Classic Italian treats are abundant at this popular café, and are best
enjoyed while sitting outside at one of their tiny tables. An almond
pignoli tart ($3) has a warm center akin to
marzipan and a crunchy topping of pine nuts.  Mainstays like tiramisu and
cannolis are always available, and frothy Italian frappes are
plentiful.

Little Poland
200 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-9728

Home-cooked,
Eastern European food is the specialty of this Polish diner, and this is the perfect place to indulge in one of the many sweet pastries of “the old
country.”  Fresh cheese blintzes, pan-fried and the size of logs,
are dusted with powdered sugar and come two to a plate ($6.50), while
crumbly cheese babka ($1.65) and homemade rice pudding ($1.95) are rich
and comforting dessert staples.

Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes
137 E. Houston St. btwn. 1st & 2nd Aves.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-2858
www.yonahschimmel.com/

This
kosher eatery has been around for 98 years, so it’s a safe bet that its
knishes are among the best in the city.  The same can be said for their hearty
dessert knishes, particularly blueberry cheese for $3.25. Homemade,
it’s the size of a baseball and as soft as a pillow, and doesn’t skimp
on fruit. The sweet knishes are also available in chocolate, cherry, and apple.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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