Williamsburg's Caprices by Sophie Sells a Rare Belgian Pastry
Caprices by Sophie is a small but beautiful bakery in Williamsburg. Their signature product, the Merveilleux, is a light and airy Belgian pastry made of meringue and whipped cream. It's the second bakery in the last six months that specializes in the treat.
What's the Merveilleux Pastry ($2.75) like? Imagine an old school meringue cookie, then smash it with a hammer, and toss the shards with whipped cream. Then roll that mass in dark chocolate shavings or some other ingredient (speculoos crumble, pink praline, or caramel bits). The result is crunchy, not too sweet, and really unlike anything else you'll find in the city.
Caprices by Sophie also has an impressive line of choux pastries for such a small bakery. I tried their chocolate and caramel and salty-butter flavors ($2.75 each). The caramel salty butter was the better of the two. Both flavors feature a crisp, perfectly baked, choux pastry shell, but the caramel and salty butter has a more pronounced flavor. The chocolate filling is good but just a bit too sweet for my tastes. Other interesting flavors include: lemon curd, rose, pistachio, bourbon vanilla, and Champagne.
Bite-size puffs of choux pastry—sweet Chouquettes and savory Gougères ($.50 each) join the menu as well. They're small, so order a small handful for a couple of bucks.