Desserted Pastries' experienced bakers craft a conscientious menu of allergy- and diet-friendly sweets and savories. Relying only on nut-free recipes, the bakery purveys cinnamon rolls ($2), cream puffs ($1.50), and éclairs ($1.50) that sate sweet teeth without harming allergy sufferers or incurring vendettas from aggrieved cashews. Cakes of the yellow, chocolate, red-velvet, and carrot variety ($12+) encapsulate cylindrical deliciousness, and cupcakes ($9/half dozen) and cookies ($7.50/dozen) supply delectable mouthfuls by the handful. Yeast breads, including french, italian, and challah loaves ($2–$7), bestow a crusty crunch on any celebration, from an acquaintance's pastry-school graduation to a pet rock's birthday party. Desserted Pastries prides itself on serving oven-fresh delicacies, and therefore requires advance orders for breads, seasonal treats, and gluten-free goods. Check the menu for details.
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.
Delicate, crispy crepe edges give way to a tender pastry center. Each paper-thin bite reveals a hidden filling such as lemon and sugar, nutella, or italian sausage. Le Cafe Creperie’s chefs have perfected their art with a five-step process: patrons can watch as cooks pour, spin, and flip their crepe, fill it with sweet or savory ingredients, then fold it to trap in the luscious flavors. Beyond crepes, Le Cafe also serves their own flatbread creations, "nanzzas." These unique pizzas are made with a foundation of Tandoori-naan flatbread and come baked in nine varieties such as pesto basil, spinach and chicken, chicken asiago, Mediterrranean, and tomato basil.
Jilly B's Boutique & Treats uses all-natural ingredients to gussy up its fat- and gluten-free yogurt made from skim milk. The roster of flavors on the menu frequently reinvents itself, but like determined starfish, classic standbys, such as coffee, peanut butter, vanilla, and raspberry, withstand the changing tides. Dress up a dish of the low-calorie, kosher dessert ($2.95–$4.50) with 1 of more than 25 toppings ($0.50–$0.95 each), ranging from granola, candy, and almonds to fruit, sauces, and top hats. Vanquish indecision with a two-topping parfait, or silence the demands of sweet teeth with a Yowich, frozen yogurt gingerly smooshed between two cookies.
When it comes to listening to their elders, kids could take a page out of Matthew Benigno’s book. Spearheading the second generation of Potitos’ ownership with his wife Cristina, Matthew takes care to follow the recipes of his in-laws, Carmen and Maria Potito—the original owners—as well as the work ethic he gleaned from his own mother and grandfather. "We basically stick to our roots of being Old World Italian. Everything is made from scratch at the bakery, fresh every day," he explained to a reporter from the South Philly Review, “We are keeping the tradition alive." Those traditions have paid off. Potitos won the South Philly Review's Readers’ Choice award in four categories including best zeppoli, best specialty cakes, and best cannoli, which Matthew and his team craft by filing homemade pastry shells with a choice of chocolate-chip-flecked ricotta, vanilla or chocolate italian cream, or lasagna. Other tasty, traditional specialties include an airy italian crème cake soaked in rum and covered in peanuts, and sfogliatelle—a flaky, seashell-shaped pastry filled with sweet-ricotta cheese and candied fruit.
Back in the ’20s, the Christen family introduced its recipes to Philadelphia with the opening of the Swiss Pastry Shop. The shop operated for decades but closed in 2007, causing hazelnut-withdrawal symptoms for loyal customers, such as the Hausman family. Thankfully, several years ago, Jim Hausman convinced the shop's pastry chef, Donna Canzanese, to keep the ovens burning and opened Swiss Haus to carry on Philadelphia’s butter, cream, and sugar traditions.
Today, at Swiss Haus, you’ll be treated to classic European recipes that have been Philadelphia institutions for more than 85 years. These are the cakes of Old-World lore, whose crumbs marked the way home through deep, dark forests. The hazelnut sponge cake, for example, with thick swiss vanilla buttercream and swiss-chocolate shavings, mingles with pastry compatriots: rum cake with vanilla-almond cream and mocha cake with swiss mocha buttercream and crushed cashew nuts. If your pastry ambitions run smaller, Swiss Haus also has a comfortable, welcoming café area where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea paired with one of the smaller pastries, such as the Mozart––a hazelnut-meringue treat with chocolate buttercream, cake, and white-chocolate mousse––or cookies, of which there are 30 varieties.