Enjoy Middle Eastern Pastries at Sweet Arayssi
By M.K. McGarrity
Special to Brooklyn Eagle
BAY RIDGE — Sweet Arayssi Middle Eastern Pastries brings the best of the eastern Mediterranean’s sweet traditions to Bay Ridge with more than a century of experience.
The Sweet Arayssi bakery is currently operated by two sisters, Amal and Rima. They opened the enterprise in Bay Ridge in the 1990s with their father after the family had emigrated from Beirut. Their father started working with his own father at the age of 14. Their great-grandfather opened his original shop in Lebanon in 1844.
Lucky for the residents of this neighborhood, the sisters have brought the best of their family’s culinary expertise, which has been refined exceptionally well since the mid 19th century, to their Fifth Avenue location. The family has been baking ever since, remaining true to such a significant culinary inheritance, but also conscious of recent innovations in the field.
The sisters have continued the best of their father’s and great-grandfather’s recipes, but have established a modern baking facility with wide-open tables filled with packaged cookies and treats. Across from the generously filled tins that line one wall is a counter filled to the extreme with trays of sweet delights. The ever popular butter and sugar cookies are juxtaposed with the unusual semolina cookies and turmeric cakes.
The shop offers the classic maamaal cookies, with choices of date, walnut and pistachio, as well as baklava (1 pound for $10, or 2 pounds for $20). Coconut macaroons, marzipan cookies and petit fours are also plentiful.
Many of the most delicate cookies and cakes are coated in a delightful sugar syrup. The bright pink and red tones glisten in the well-lit bakery. Shelves above the counters are filled with Cortas products, such as pomegranate molasses, and other concentrated fruit juices like tamarind, blackberry and date are mixed with water for a refreshing drink.
The keys to the bakery’s success are “love of family” and “customers who crave something from home,” according to Rima.
Sweet Arayssi will ship anywhere in the United States at reasonable prices. The sisters are happy to take orders of every size and even to cater weddings or other large events.
Sweet Arayssi Middle Eastern Pastries is located at 7216 Fifth Ave. For more information, call (718) 745-2115, fax (718) 745-2820, or check out the web page at www.arayssi.com. The shop is open seven days a week: Sunday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., including all holidays.
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