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Jan 21, 2012 02:03 PM

Pastries for the Lunar New Year at Masse's (Berkeley)

I went up to Masse's to find a chocolate cake for a family member's birthday and was blown away by the gorgeous pastries they made for the Lunar New Year - yuzu eclairs with pale green icing and pale pink cherry blossoms, orange chiffon rolls decorated to look like firecrackers, macarons in lychee rose, yuzu, pandan coconut, mango, and green tea flavors, green tea financiers, green tea opera cake, mango miroir torte, and more.

I of course left my phone in the car and couldn't get a picture of the full array, but I did take a pic of the yuzu eclair and mini firecracker when I got home. The eclair, which had both yuzu cream and icing, was very good. The firecracker had more mousse than cake for my taste, but the presentation was exceptional.

Masse's Pastries
1469 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

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  1. So cute. Do you know how long Masse's will have them?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Not sure, but they're hosting a special Mah Jongg event next Sunday... so possibly through next weekend?

      But don't forget that they are closed on Tuesdays.

      1. re: Mola

        They will have the desserts available until about Feb 5th.

        The link to the online menu has most of what they have. I hope I can get there when they have egg custard tarts.

        There are also almond cookies and lots of macarons with asiean flavors - pandan coc onut, lychee rose,green te and others on the website. There was ginger shortbread and pretty shortbread in the shape of flowers and gold coins.

    2. Just coming out from lurking to say thanks very much for telling us about this. I would have missed it otherwise.

      My mom went today and got the coffee crunch cake, the firecracker, the yuzu eclair and the blood orange chocolate torte.

      All were as beautiful as you say and all delicious.

      I think I tend to take Masse's for granted. This was a nice reminder of what a gem it is.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nanceq


        It was actually my first time there - Masse's comes up in all of the chocolate cake threads, but I'd never been there because of my aversion to Gourmet Ghetto traffic and parking. I will definitely go back for all my future special occasion cakes. I thought that for the quality of the cakes, and the amount of work that clearly went into them (I'd also purchased a coconut layer cake with chocolate glaze that had adorable little dark and white chocolate coconuts on top), the prices are really reasonable (mid-30's for a 9" cake)

        You didn't by any chance find out how long they're going to have the lunar new year specials, did you? I didn't, so can't help out rworange upthread...

        1. re: nanceq

          Seconding the thanks for this tip! The yuzu eclair, firecracker, and lychee snowball (well, he called it a macaron, but it looked like the cinderella of pink hostess snowballs) were my faves. My sis and I were tickled that someone not of the Asian persuasion would do this. It was a wonderful departure from the rather inedible CNY sweets.

          1. re: rubadubgdub

            Thanks for clarifying--- even though Masse's make a top notch product, I was wondering why a french macaron cost $5! Their menu lists two Lychee Rose Macarons-- one listed for $5 (presumably the snowball), and another for $1.25 amidst the other French macarons. Now that that's settled, I'm gonna have to stop back in tomorrow for the $1.25 one.

            The filling on the eclair is great, but I found the pastry a bit too cold and heavy.

            1. re: hyperbowler

              You've got it right. Both are delicious. The snowball has a macaron base, topped by the lychee filling (same as the cookie macaron), and fluffed up with a mousse. It's about 3-4x as big as the cookie (it's the pink thing in rworange's post below).

              1. re: rubadubgdub

                Yes, and there is half a macaron on top as part of the flower.

                This was the last thing we had yesterday and everyone just took a taste. I finished it off today and it turns out that there is also a whole fresh seeded lychee in the mousse part. Eating more than one bite, it grew on me and i liked it better.

                1. re: rworange

                  I actually think it may have been a canned lychee, it was very sweet. I was reading the momofuku cookbook and chang had an interesting aside: he said they use the cheapest canned lychees for their desserts and he believes they have the best taste! The fresh ones we get here can be very disappointing. But it was a fun surprise inside nonetheless.

        2. Lunar New Year is Marcia Masse's favorite time of year, so she and her husband go out of their way to make very special pastries.
          They do look gorgeous!

          2 Replies
          1. re: milklady

            Yes, she really got into talking about Lunar New Year today.I am so sad I'm sitll so sick, because I've missed out on a lot of great conversations about food because I just can't focus.

            Anyway ... at least I can still enjoy food.

            The chocolate dragon head is one of the best pieces of chocolate cake I've had in a long time. It is a lot cuter than the photo I took which makes it look like an insane pit bull. Everyone liked the taste of this the best.

            Second favorite was the green tea opera which was very pretty. I liked the firecraker better than the pink lychee mousse which was a bit too sweet for me.

            There was a gorgeous pudding type thing with a slice of blood orange on top and layered with an orange mousse, I think. It had a lot of coconut and raisins in it.

            i think the lychee macaron was outstanding. I'm going to go back and see if it was in fact lychee. Whatever it was it almost mouth watering juicy ... something i'd never experienced in a macaron

            1. re: rworange

              Thanks so much for posting. Will be going tomorrow.

          2. We went yesterday & got the chocolate dragon head, the firecracker, green tea opera & yuzu & green tea macarons. I liked the firecracker best, so light & fluffy w/ wonderful subtle flavor. Everything was delicious though. The dragon head was really fun to eat, with all the chocolate parts to pick off & nibble. Might need to get another yuzu macaron very soon, perhaps when we go back to try some of the other specials. All very festive & really gave me a proper New Year feeling! Thanks so much for the alert -- never woulda known about it otherwise!

            1. Lunar New Year pastries are gracing the case again. The webmaster is down with the flu so website hasn't been updated.

              Here's the Mandarin Firecracker cake and Green Tea Opera cake.

              2 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  I tasted a few. The pandan one and the coffee crunch were my favorites.