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When you think of Roberta’s you probably think of blistered pizzas and a wood-burning oven. But here’s a reminder from Fork in the Road: the desserts are complex, beautiful, and fabulous. They’re the work of pastry chef Katy Peetz, who joined the Bushwick restaurant as pastry chef last February. I watched as Peetz made her cherry-hyssop semifreddo, and broke down the steps of her process. Peetz poaches the cherries in an anise-hyssop syrup, then purees them. She mixes that with blanched egg yolks and whipped cream from Maplehofe Farms in Pennsylvania. As Peetz pointed out, the tangy cherry flavor is the ideal match for the sweet and earthy anise flavor of the hyssop.
Peetz hails from a small western town called Sydney (Nebraska) and moved to New York with a business degree but quickly enrolled in culinary school at the FCI, interning at Blue Hill. A post-graduation stint in Patagonia, working at a Chilean fly-fishing lodge, taught her how to create everything from scratch and rely on whatever ingredients were available to get creative. At Roberta’s, Peetz incorporates foraged foods, locally farmed ingredients, and goods from the rooftop garden. The result? Sweet, creative dishes that are like a breath of fresh air.