Like much of Bay Ridge and southern Brooklyn, Jean Danet Pastry is a well-loved destination that has managed to sustain its traditional charms while adding new flavors and options.
In addition to its signature specialties of butter cookies, quiche and cheesecake, the French pastry shop has expanded to include cupcakes, gelato, brick oven pizza and, most recently, Scandinavian favorites previously available only at Leskes Bakery, such as limpa bread and kringles.
These are baked at Jean Danet by Alex, who joined Jean Danet after Leskes closed last year. Among them are the legendary Black and Whites. But, this version is cakier than traditional Black and Whites, with creamy slopes of frosting that lure fans back for more.
Every morning, afternoon and through much of the night, Jean Danets six veteran bakers produce loaf after loaf and batch after batch of warm and delicious treats. Among the highlights is the Cheesecake, topped with glazed strawberries and gently whipped cream. We found it thick and rich but not overly sweet.
The individual Fruit Tart is a colorful creation that combines a mélange of glazed fruit slices on top of a rich custard base thats embraced by a buttery crust again, sweet, but not cloying.
We tried one of the bakerys cupcakes a relatively recent addition to its repertoire, as the miniature cakes have risen in popularity. A layer of creamy chocolate icing is set off by blue, green or pink dollops, and the cake itself is distinctive, with a surprising denseness providing the perfect base for the semi-sweet chocolate topping.
One of the things that makes the baked treats produced at Jean Danet special is the use of butter. The bakery eschews artificial ingredients, said owner Pat Giura, relying on the natural goodness of its pantry and refrigerator staples beginning with the shortening used. This is immediately evident in everything from the seven-layer cookies to the jelly pockets.
While much of what is offered for sale at Jean Danet is sweet, not everything is. Quiches are a part of the bakerys repertoire (dating back, in fact, to the original Jean Danet who founded the shop). So too are panini and brick-oven pizza, the latter added in 2004 a fact for which we are extremely grateful.
Why? A single bite is sufficient to convince the most doubting skeptic that there is a difference among pizzas. The difference at Jean Danet starts with the crust paper thin and crispy, and perfectly baked.
But, it continues with the toppings largely made with fresh ingredients. We tried a pizza that was half Margherita, topped with mozzarella and tomatoes cooked into sauce atop the crust. The other half featured the addition of sautéed broccoli rabe, a pleasantly bitter green enjoying a bit of the spotlight recently after spending years in the shadows.
And, about that mozzarella. Its freshly made by the crew at Jean Danet, who also make their own gelato in season.
For those who frequent Jean Danet, that shouldnt come as a surprise. And, for those who have not yet tasted the bakerys wide range of treats, the focus on freshness should be incentive enough to stop in and get to know its repertoire.
JEAN DANET PASTRY
7526 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Delivery and custom wedding cakes available