Tucked among the brownstones in Manhattan's Greenwich Village is a take-out bakery called Batch, operated by Chef Pichet Ong. I had heard about this place a while ago, and as someone who makes it her business to know NYC cupcakes, I paid it a visit after brunch at the ever-crowded Jane last weekend. Batch cupcakes are, shall we say, unusual. For example, the ones on the lower center tray in the photo above are topped with bacon. Do I have your attention now?
It was a toss-up for a few minutes as I stared at my options, which ranged from chocolate green tea to pumpkin maple rum raisin. I went with a drunken peppered pear cupcake, and while I can't say I noticed anything particularly drunken or peppery about it, there were some moist swirls of pear purée in the center. A thin layer of frosting provided all the sweetness, and a sprinkle of coconut shavings on top added texture. The cake portion was less oily than Tonnie's minis but still held together without crumbling, even as I pulled it apart to share a bite with my companion. The frosting, on the other hand, crumbled at the slightest contact, and I made a nice little mess on the window seat in the shop in evidence of that fact.
The very sweet female proprietor, who I assume is a relation of Chef Ong's, emerged from a back room to speak with the girl working the counter and stayed to chat with us as we finished our treats. She recommended we stop by later to try the cheesecake at P*ONG next door, and while we did not follow her advice, I did take note of the special (read expensive) Valentine's Day menu in the window as we left. If you like your romantic dinners in parts puréed, jellied, moussed, and gold-plated, you may want to check it out.