Serious Eats: Sweets

Ask a Pastry Chef: What to Eat at Sofra Bakery & Cafe, Cambridge, MA

[Photographs: Kate Shannon]

What do you get when you transport the bold colors, inventive flavors, and exotic spices of the well-loved Cambridge restaurant Oleana into a cozy bakery and cafe? Sofra, the popular spot created by James Beard Award-winner Ana Sortun and 5-time "Best of Boston" pasty chef Maura Kilpatrick.

Like Oleana, Sofra is inspired by the cuisine of the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean. Their savory offerings will make you weak in the knees (hot pepper labne with mint sizzle, anyone?) but the desserts and pastries are more than just a nice ending to a good meal. A mix of traditional Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese items combine with inspired riffs of Kilpatrick's own invention to make sweets that are one of the reasons you'll see a line of customers wrapping around the counter and out the door.

It can be a bit daunting to narrow down the menu to just an item or two, so we went straight to the source and asked Maura Kilpatrick what she'd recommend. As you'll see in the slideshow, picking only a few favorites is easier said than done, even for the pastry chef.

Sofra Bakery and Cafe1 Belmont Street Cambridge, MA 02138 (map) 617-489-5090; Sofrabakery.com

About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger by day and line cook by night. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.

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