The Dessert Files: Village Tart
"There were too many baked glories to explore at this bakery counter—I'll definitely be coming back for more."
Soho's Village Tart opened up last week with a selection of sweets at the bakery counter. Spotted: Nutella skillet cakes, a quartet of tarts, baci cookies, and cornflake rochers. The hardest part? Deciding what to try. The full cafe menu doesn't debut until February, but until then, I'm more than happy with the array of sweets from Pichet Ong.
We'll start with the Mascarpone Tart ($4.95, pictured at top), cream nested in a crumbly butter-laced crust. The filling is pure white in color, and as rich, if not more so, than it looks. Just mascarpone—luxuriously smooth and full in volume. That base is hardly sweet at all; it relies on slices of blood orange and toasted, salted pistachios for a kick of sweet and savory.
Seeing as it is a personal goal of mine to eat every single olive oil sweet in the city—and madeleines are my favorite cookies—the Olive Oil Madeleines were sirens I really, really could not ignore. Sold in bags of eight for $3.50, they're moist, dense and saturated with olive oil. Irresistible.
Thai Tea truffles ($2.25 each), made from a dark chocolate ganache, were spot on in texture but too delicate on the Thai tea flavor. This would make a killer truffle if the tea came through with greater intensity.
Grapefruit Tart ($4.95) starts with a vanilla sablée crust, with a filling of grapefruit curd and almond frangipane, and fresh grapefruit slices to finish. Grapefruit and almonds isn't a common pairing, but it works beautifully in this case, the citrus offsetting the full custardy cream. The slice is tiny for the price—but, well, this is Soho.
Sugar-dusted and dainty in size, the mint-chocolate cookies ($1.95) were lovely and bright, but passable. Better are the Village Alfajors, with Maldon salt-tinged dulce de leche sandwiched between a particularly buttery vanilla shortbread.
The Candied Apple Galette ($5) piles deeply caramelized thinly sliced green apples into some sort of crazy sweet and tart wonder. A puff pastry base holds it all together. It's simultaneously crunchy and tender, and tastes as beautiful as it looks.
There were too many baked glories to explore at this bakery counter—I'll definitely be coming back for more. Among the many sweets on my agenda: Seville orange pound cakes, rum raisin carrot cakes, nougat cookie, and espresso-chocolate brownies—I can hardly wait!