Behind the Scenes: A Study in Chocolate with Maison Kayser

[Photographs: Eunice Choi]

A walk around the neighborhood is an easy reminder that there is no shortage of great bakeries and patisseries on the Upper East Side. One of these is Maison Kayser, a bakery-restaurant on 74th Street and 3rd Avenue that features a prominent display of tarts, eclairs, and loaves of bread, plus a steady stream of customers walking in and out of the shop.

With four locations and counting, the team at Maison Kayser is constantly producing a wide range of pastries to satiate New York's sweet tooth. Although there is a variety of seasonally-inspired offerings, the Chocolate Tart remains a year-round favorite, and can always be found in the pastry case. The tarts are made in batches of 100 kilograms at a time, and almost a hundred of them are sold per day.

In the Window

Made with a chocolate crust, filled with a chocolate cream, topped with a chocolate glaze, and finished with a chocolate disc and a truffle, Maison Kayser's tart is truly a study in chocolate. Although the components of this pastry are all relatively simple to put together, this is a food greater than the sum of its parts, as the different textures and layers of chocolate come together effortlessly to form a pastry that is at once cohesive and varied. We were able to step into the kitchen at Maison Kayser's flagship store and shadow Pastry Chef Nicolas Chevrieux as he assembled this pastry; click through the slideshow to see how it's made.