In my estimation, Three Tarts is one of the most underrated dessert spots in the city— a Chelsea gift shop, marshmallow factory, and mini-dessert emporium, all rolled into one. We've posted about their ever-changing marshmallows multiple times, the tiny pot de creme, and the bakery bits in the past, but today, here's a closer look at their puddings and "jewel" cups. Prices range between $2-$2.50 for mini-puddings and jewels—but believe me, it's not easy to stop at just one.
The Chocolate Banana (pictured at top) is my personal favorite of the puddings. What may be the world's tiniest toasted marshmallow is perched atop a bed of chocolate whipped cream. Then the bananas drenched in a decadent and drunken caramel-rum sauce, vanilla bean marshmallow cream, and a bottom base of crushed graham crackers. What could be overkill—numerous components and flavors working in a tiny dessert—turns into a five-bite glory, all textures, from crunch to cream, accounted for.
In the Summer Pudding, a macerated trio of berries: blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry, are layered with dainty little brioche rounds soaked through in berry juices. A quenelle of creme fraiche to complete, one creamy bite streaked with balsamic for an nontraditional touch.
Vegans can take part in the Black and White Rice Pudding. A duo of coconut milk-based rice puddings, one made with jasmine, and another with forbidden rice, are layered and topped off with chopped apricots.
The single pudding I found a bit boring was the Raspberry Fruit Dainty, in which an extra-creamy raspberry curd alternated layers with spoonfuls of creme fraiche. Decent, if not memorable.
I once attended a party where the hostess passed around Three Tarts's Jewels for dessert. The jewels consist of two flavors, two textures—a picture-perfect gelée and a panna cotta body. (She offered a trio of flavors, two dozen of each arranged on a copper tray, and guests oohed and ahhed over every one, before taking one of each.)
There's an almond panna cotta topped with espresso gelée and a coconut panna cotta paired with a pomegranate gelée. Those two were swell, but it was the third flavor combo I went nuts for (having seconds, and then, embarrassingly enough, thirds): a bright and citrusy tart lemon panna cotta finished with lavender gelée, a most beautiful marriage. Lavender can often be overwhelmingly flowery, but here it was tempered with the lemon, a satisfying sweet and tart affair.
I would, however, pass on the blood orange gelée, paired with a goat cheese panna cotta. It sounds intriguing, but the goat cheese panna cotta comes out grainy, and slightly too pungent for such a delicate treat.
There are too many mini sweets at Three Tarts to mention in this post, but we'll be back; until then, take a break from the usual cupcake or cookie and make room for a few little puddings in your day.
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