THE BITE: One recent morning, I walked into Sheepshead Bay Fruit & Vegetables Market, also known as Sheepshead Bay Gourmet Market, and while the newly added fresh meats display did entice me with it’s array of pink-gray veal and tongue, it was, as I’ve mentioned, early in the day. Making a note to come back at a later hour, I continued past to the pastry section to start my day off right with a good dose of sugar.
The pastry case was full of all the regulars: danishes, turnovers, black and white cookies. I apathetically grabbed an almond croissant, which looked more like a frosting covered almond stick. Regardless, I paid my $1.25 for it and was on my way.
Feeling content enough to have kept my breakfast budget low, I unexcitedly bit into my “croissant.” The bits of frosting and crunchy almonds that encrusted it came cascading down my clothes immediately, but the messier the meal, the better, right?
It was pretty fresh-tasting, doughy and a bit buttery, which I hadn’t expected from a plastic-wrapped grocery-bought pastry. And yet another surprise awaited me: somehow the baker had managed to fit two stripes of almond paste into the center of this pastry. I hadn’t particularly planned on mentioning this purchase to anyone, let alone writing about it, but c’mon, marzipan is big news!
Brought up by a European family, anywhere marzipan turns up in American-bought foods, even in an Eastern European store, surprises and delights me. I know there are other brands of almond croissants out there that also feature a marzipan filling, but I’ve often been disappointed either by a lack of filling whatsoever, or by an overly sweet white paste trying to pass for marzipan. Not here. You could see the brown flecks of almond in the filling, indicating actual ground nuts and not just artificially flavored goop.
This was a great way to start the day.
I also should note that the picture only shows about 40 percent of the length of this pastry. That’s right, I ate more than half of it before I regained my wits and took a picture.
Sheepshead Bay Gourmet Market, 1717 Avenue Z at East 17th Street, (718) 891-8449.
— Sonia Rapaport
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.