NYC Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Italian Patisserie Tour

Introduction

Please excuse our month-long hiatus, dear dessert followers. We have just finished our 21st week of shutdown here in NYC, and our reintegration into society and civilisation proceeds at a glacial pace.  We have been thinking a lot of the past of late, and in line with that, we thought we would take a step back into old New York.  In continuation of our recent local neighbourhood dessert adventures, we venture a little further south to the border of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, home to a long-standing Italian community.  Here, we will take you on a tour of three old-school American-Italian bakeries, all within a few minutes walk of each other, and all offering sweet nibbles that can be had for less than $5.  We wonder how many of these yesteryear bakeries will survive the present year and beyond….

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Rainbow Cookie

  • ☑ Short & sweet story: Before the Instagram-era of luridly coloured desserts, the American-Italian community had their “Rainbow Cookie,” a creation that we have not seen outside of the States, neither in Italy itself nor in other Italian diaspora communities such as in our hometown of Melbourne.  The “Rainbow Cookie” is the Italian flag wrought into dessert form.  More cake than cookie, and of three rather than seven colours of the eponymous natural wonder, three wedges of red, beige and green almond cake are sandwiched upon one another with jam and subsequently coated in chocolate.
  • ☑ Where to try this: Court Pastry Shop, 298 Court Street, Cobble Hill.
  • Also pictured below, we would recommend sampling Court Pastry Shop’s more cookie-like cookies, too.


Lobster’s Tail (Sfogliatelle)

  • ☑ Short & sweet story: What happens when you decide to stuff a croissant with cream – either ricotta cream, or a lighter chantilly-type cream?  The outcome is the ultra-decadent sfogliatella, or in American-speak, “lobster’s tail.”  Be forewarned, this gargantuan seashell is more suitable as an afternoon tea pastry, rather than as a breakfast pastry, and is ideal for sharing.
  • ☑ Where to try this: Court Pastry Shop, 298 Court Street, Cobble Hill.


Black & White Cookie

  • ☑ Short & sweet story: Of ambiguous German origins, the Black & White Cookie has carved out a definitive place in NYC’s dessert scene for over the last half a century.  Arguably as “iconic” to NYC as the cheesecake or cupcake, it has been referenced in the Seinfeld television show (according to a friend of ours, we haven’t seen that show though), considered a sign of “unity” by the former President Obama, and today, is a mainstay of American-Italian bakeries.  To be very frank, your Dessert Correspondents are somewhat confused by it.  It’s not really a cookie, but instead a flat cake-like creation.  Sometimes, it’s vanilla flavoured, yet on occasion, we have detected a hint of lemon.  The icing is not really hard fondant, but also not really creamy. It’s a curiosity.
  • ☑ Where to try this: Caputo’s Bake Shop, 329 Court Street, Cobble Hill.


Italian cake assortment

  • ☑ Short & sweet story: Similar to our local favourite patisserie – Mia’s Bakery (see our previous review here), Monteleone Bakery distinguishes itself with its distinctive Italian slant.  Upon entering, you will see a glass counter stocked with a vibrant array of eye-catching treats.  There will always be a variety of cannolis ranging from bite-sized tubes to longer cylinders, a buffet of amaretti and other biscotti, the prettiest selection of fruit tartlets and other larger torta, and even the rarely-seen cassatini, a rum and almond cake enrobed in a striking green marzipan and embellished with a glace cherry.  You may also see panettone (a sweet bread-like creation embedded with raisins and dried fruit), panforte (a dense fruit nut cake) and torrone (aka nougat candy).  Our favourite treats from Monteleone would have to be the fruit tartlets – they look especially lovely on tiered crystal platters for afternoon tea parties.
  • ☑ Where to try this: Monteleone Bakery Cafe, 355 Court Street, Cobble Hill.


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