Rustic apple tart from Bittersweet (photo by Steve Dolinsky)
I've been a fan of Bittersweet in Lake View since they opened, in 1992. For years, I've had them make the birthday cakes for my kids, because I knew there was no one else who could bake like Judy Contino. The former pastry chef at Ambria, Contino has set the standard for her colleagues around the city, even as competition has ramped up over the past 10 years. One of the items that has always been available at Bittersweet is the rustic apple tart. This hand-formed beauty is rife with apples, gently coated in caramel and surrounded by delicate pastry that has the slightest dusting of powdered sugar. Like everything else here, it is made with great care, great skill and European inspiration. There is no season for this tart - it is awesome all year long.