Editor's note: You may know Kathy YL Chan as our longtime Sugar Rush correspondent. She'll be joining us each week with a more in-depth look at New York sweets to sweeten up your Mondays. Please welcome Kathy!
Sullivan Street Bakery's sweets warrant more attention than they usually garner. Their puddings, tarts, cakes, and pastries are the less appreciated counterparts to the bakery's breads, pizzas, and sandwiches. Their pizza bianca may be sublime, as are the Cubano sandwich and olive stecca, but hey, let's give the sweets some affection, shall we?
We'll start with the Peach-Blueberry Crumble ($3.50), my favorite dessert from their current (and ever-changing) selection. This sweet couples two fine summer fruits and tops it off with crumbled buttery shortbread, which even alone would make a great cookie. It's a dessert that requires a spoon and steady hand, lest you spill off all the tender baked fruit, loosely packed and still a touch warm.
More gorgeous goodies, after the jump.
The Apple Turnover ($3) hides a surprise; biting in, one discovers a whole apple half comfortably tucked within the walls of a golden crust. That crust is flaky, though not the least bit heavy. The turnovers can be inconsistent—I've come across a doughy interior on more than one occasion—but when done right, it's something worth hoarding for yourself.
Earlier this year, Sullivan Street's sambuca-soaked banana bread pudding made for an incredibly delicious breakfast, but as the sweets change with the season, it's been replaced with a Blueberry Bread Pudding Tart ($3.50). Bread puddings here, resting upon a butter-rich flaky base, are much different from the norm; they're no more than an inch in height, with the bread composing no discernible individual element of the pudding. Think of it more as a custard, with blueberries popping in each bite.
My favorite bit to take away, and stuff in my bag for a forgotten afternoon treat, is the Pasqualino di Riso ($1.75), a dainty two-biter of rice pudding nestled in a crunchy short pastry crust. The baked pudding, firm in texture with rice just this side of cooked, bears hints of vanilla and cardamom.
It was sweet and tart cherries this week, but no matter what fruit is employed in the Brioche al Frutto Stagonale ($2.50), it will be nothing less than incredible. Mascarpone is spooned into the center of the brioche dough and topped with exactly six ripe cherries, then finished with a rustic sprinkle of slivered almonds. The best bite is right in the middle—sliding down a single cherry with a mouthful of mascarpone and a nibble of the citrus glazed brioche.
As for the Chiocciola ($2.50)—this is the one pastry I would pass up at Sullivan Street. A perfectly decent bun by any means, it doesn't quite reach the sticky moist luxury of Bouchon Bakery, nor the gooey and golden flaky wonder from Balthazar Bakery. It hovers in-between, neither very tender nor crisp.
The Tortino di Cioccolato ($2.50) is a classic at Sullivan Street Bakery, and one that I will never tire of. At the intersection of a chocolate tart, a cake, and a brownie, the indulgent treat is distinguished by a touch of sea salt and a handful of breadcrumbs, giving every bite an intoxicating crunch. If you're taking this home, warm it up just a little and gently top with soft mounds of fresh whipped cream. It's crazy good.
Finally, don't forget about their Bomboloni, which we included in our guide to the Best Doughnuts in New York. These Italian doughnuts are fried a deep dark brown, injected with filling and the topped off with confectioners sugar. Bombolonis come in two flavors, vanilla pastry cream and raspberry jam—both quite delicious, but if I had to choose, I'd go with the silky vanilla-speckled cream any day.
And there you have it—seven more reasons to visit one of this city's best bakeries, all worth the trek to Eleventh Avenue. Some say that the sweets from Grandaisy (Sullivan's onetime sister bakery of sorts; long story) are comparable. I'm reserving judgment for now, but it may well be worth a future taste test.