After two long pandemic years, NYC’s dessert scene finally re-emerged this year like a phoenix from the embers of the pandemic! If 2017 was the year of rainbow-coloured desserts and ice cream egg waffles, 2018 the year of peak soft serve creativity, 2019 the year of trompe l’oeil desserts and mochi doughnuts, 2020 the year of bubble tea desserts and dessert deliveries, and 2021 was all about reflecting on our cream puff physique, 2022 was the year of the viral pastry. What do we mean by this? It’s when the hoards descend on a particular dessert shop similar to how lymphocytes charge at an evil virus. 😛 We have lost count of the number of queues we have joined for pandan desserts (especially kuih), croissants, cardamom buns, and giant cream buns. And just in case you haven’t had enough of viral pastries yet, we round-up four more desserts (that was not a kuih, croissant, cardamom or cream bun) that NYC went absolutely nuts for in 2022.
Bye bye cronut
- Dessert destination: Lafayette, Soho, Manhattan.
- Budget: $.
- Must-eat: Le Suprême ($9.50). The Cronut was born in the spring of 2013. Just one year shy of this decade anniversary, in the early summer of this year, Lafayette (one of our favourite brunch places in NYC) spun its croissant dough into a circle instead of a crescent, piped in some pastry cream, and voila, the Suprême was born. Several months on, this new breed of pastry still reigns supreme on every dessert lover’s must-eat list. To get your hands on one, you have to join a l-o-n-g line at 8am, 1pm or 4pm, rain, hail or shine. There is a limit of one per person, so ideally, bring a friend. We joined the line three times, and only managed to finally snag one at 8am on a cloudy Sunday morning. Pictured below is the December edition, filled with eggnog cream.
- Worth the hype? YES.
Twirling the croissant
- Dessert destination: Patisserie Fouet, Union Square, Manhattan
- Budget: $.
- Must-eat: Escargot Croissant ($11). Patisserie Fouet is another long-time favourite dessert spot of ours, particularly for its dessert degustation. It recently released an eye-catching pastry creation. Resembling a giant snail, Fouet’s “Escargot Croissant” is essentially two croissant halves sandwiching a seasonally-changing flavour centre. Pictured below is the version with Japanese kabocha (a type of squash) and azuki beans.
- Worth the hype? We prefer Patisserie Fouet’s other desserts, see here.
A tri-hybrid dessert
- Dessert destination: Bear Doughnut, Koreatown, Manhattan.
- Budget: $.
- Short and sweet story: Doffle ($7.50). Bear Doughnut is one of those dessert shops that specializes in being “in the know” when it comes to dessert trends. For example, it has a selection of vibrantly-coloured mochi doughnuts, gargantuan cream buns and now, a new dessert hybrid. Bear’s “Doffle” looks like a cross between a doughnut, bagel and waffle. It is in fact, two mochi waffles sandwiching a thick swathe of yogurt whipped cream. It makes for a very sweet, very dense bite.
- Worth the hype? We prefer Bear’s other desserts, see here and here.
Cakes on exhibition
- Dessert destination: Lysée, Flatiron, Manhattan.
- Budget: $$$-$$$$.
- Short and sweet story: Mousse cakes ($17). Lysée is the new patisserie of a very talented Michelin-starred pastry chef whose elegant desserts we admired as part of Jungsik’s dessert bar. Although we wanted to love Lysée very much, our experience has been marred by a series of very unfortunate events. There’s the terrible line management (or mismanagement). The very flustered service staff. And worse of all, the tendency of the cakes to melt when you take them away instead of eat-in. Currently, Lysée is a hot mess, more of a patisserie in a lycée stage, than a musée to desserts. The most-photographed cake of 2022 in NYC is Lysée’s trompe l’oeil “Corn” ($18) mousse-cake. It had a flavour profile that reminded us of a dessert at Cosme and Marble. We instead preferred the “Very Important Chocolate Cake” ($18), the only cake that didn’t disintegrate in transit. Its dark chocolate mousse was enlivened with a curious interplay of pepper and caramel. The other cakes that we purchased (over $100 worth, mind you) transformed into sweet sludges enroute home, and were forgettable for their appearance as well as very subtle flavour tones.
- Worth the hype? Hold. For now, go to a Michelin-star restaurant for desserts at a similar price point and an overall more memorable experience.