I’m home from my trip to New York and I’ll be back to cooking and posting some more recipes very soon! For now, I want to share a couple pictures of some of my favorite Italian bakery treats :)
Visiting one of these bakeries is always an experience, from the yummy smells to the gorgeous and colorful Italian-style pastries in the glass cases. It’s so hard to choose what I want to get though, because I always want to try everything!
There are a lot of these types of bakeries in the Bronx area, and my family and I have been to quite a few of them! Our favorites, though, are Conti’s Pastry Shoppe on Morris Park Avenue (they do the usual Italian bakery stuff but also make specialty cakes and serve coffee and gelato) and Zeppiere and Sons on Buhre Avenue.
Zeppiere’s makes awesome pastries, but as you can see (and smell from the street outside.. yum!) the shelves behind the counter are always stocked with fresh-baked bread. There’s challah, sesame-coated Italian bread, and other little rolls and things.
The regina cookies (finger-shaped cookies rolled in sesame seeds) from Zeppiere’s are delicious. They’re crumbly and kind of dry, but they’re really flavorful. They’re actually not supposed to be a soft cookie because they’re meant for dipping in coffee or tea, like biscotti are. Also, they’re SUPER addictive.
Another classic bakery item that I always get is the black-and-white cookie that’s so famous in New York.
It’s a drop cookie, which means that the cookie dough is a little thinner than regular cookie dough, it’s closer to a cake batter. The baker drops pools of the dough/batter onto a cookie sheet, and they rise as they bake. So it makes a little dome shape, and then they flip them upside-down and ice the flat side. You can see the curved bottoms:
Drop cookies have a very cakey texture which is so moist and yummy, and the icing is always so rich that the chocolate side tastes like they just spread fudge straight onto the cookie!
Another interesting Italian pastry is called pasticiotti (pronounced like pasta-chote). The outer crust tastes a bit like a sweet pie crust, and the inside has a thick custard kind of filling, traditionally with bits of candied lemon peel in it.
This one (from Zeppiere’s) has the traditional pasticiotti shape, and it tasted pretty good.
But I like the pasticiotti from Conti’s better, even though they recently changed their recipe to a more non-traditional one. Their new approach to the little tarts involves baking them in aluminum tart dishes, and leaving out the candied lemon peel.
At first, I was kind of upset cause I really liked the old ones. But as soon as I tasted it I totally changed my mind! The crust was perfect, the filling was awesome, and the tart had a unique (but still authentic Italian-tasting) flavor. Actually it sort of tasted like a sugar cookie. I think it was better than their old pasticiotti!
Conti’s also made the cake for my grandma’s birthday. It was so beautiful and sparkly!
It was made of rum cake sort of layers with thick chocolate and vanilla creams in between and iced with sweet whipped cream: