François Payard Bakery
François Payard's Strawberry Tiramisu came with individual droppers harboring a potent liquid of basil syrup. We squeezed onto the tiramisu and spooned up, making sure it gets soaked into every bite of the summer strawberry, mascarpone, and cake layers. Elegant and fresh, it was our first bite at SWEET—but the one I was still thinking about at the end of the night.
Gotham Bar & Grill
We Sugar Rush'ed a fig mousse dessert from Gotham Bar and Grill on Serious Eats earlier last week, and were excited to see another interpretation of fig from the same restaurant. Pastry Chef Deborah Racicot exceeded expectations with pipes of buttery cinnamon cheesecake and a quarter each of roasted figs and fresh figs on the plate. A salute to the season.
I can't resist ice cream sandwiches, and the ones at Locanda Verde were extraordinary. Each sandwich was assembled on the spot. Rounds of soft and moist spice cakes grilled until the exterior was just the slightest bit crisp; a scoop of mascarpone gelato between two cake rounds, and voilà! I can't imagine a better one.
Dorie Greenspan and her family arrived at SWEET with her incredible chocolate cookies. They're called World Peace Cookies—superbly rich, dark chocolate numbers with just the right hint of vanilla and sea salt. It's decadent but never overwhelming and true to flavor, and the chocolate shards melt on the bite.
Ron Ben-Israel Cakes
Ron Ben-Israel is a master of wedding cakes, his creations both beautiful and delicious. Here, there's a slice of almond cake, the fine crumbs moist with brown sugar and finished with a smooth apple buttercream. And another, even more indulgent slice: chocolate with salty pistachio and mascarpone buttercream. Housemade cranberry-orange compote on the side.
Katherine Thompson of dell'anima plated Sicilian Cassata, a tender melt-in-your-mouth ricotta cake with bittersweet chocolate and a single tart candied cranberry. I've never been a big fan of cassata mainly because it's often overwhelmingly sweet, but her luxurious take on the Italian classic was refreshing, fun, and most importantly, delicious.
Abe & Arthur's
Gustavo Tzoc's French Toast Bread Pudding combined the best of two worlds in a custardy, eggy wonder. It was one of the few desserts of the evening served warm. We loved the crisp, crunchy surface and a pudding-soft interior. Topped with silky chocolate chip and butter pecan ice cream—an ideal pairing.
Doughnut Plant brought their doughnuts in miniature; I wish they always sold them in this size! With the minis, you can indulge in a variety of flavors. We snacked on the signature crème brûlée doughnuts as well as a coconut yeast, but the overall favorite was a peanut butter and jelly doughnut—housemade blackberry jelly and a nutty, light gloss of peanut-studded peanut butter glaze.