Taste Test: Mexican Pastries

Sweet Latin treats.
Adalberto Reyes was a professional painter for more than 20 years but dreamed of owning a European-style bakery that served his favorite Mexican pastries. He teamed up with a friend—pastry chef Alfredo Cortez, who has trained with Mexican, South American, and European pros—to open Artisan Bakery on the west side earlier this year. Pretty sweet. 7341 Rockville Rd., 317-292-9324

Two dense discs of sweet bread are joined together by Bavarian cream, mimicking the look of a yo-yo. You may also see them referred to as a beso, Spanish for “kiss,” since the two pieces of pastry are connected by the filling (choices include plain or strawberry).

The most popular version of this sweet turnover is filled with cream cheese, but you can also find a Bavarian cream option on the shelf, or a variety of fruit fillings like apple or pumpkin, rotating with the seasons.

The shortbread cookie is a very traditional Mexican treat. “Every Hispanic person is going to recognize that,” says Reyes. “They come in looking for the plain shortbread one.”

One of the most recognizable classics here is the oreja, Spanish for “ear,” thanks to the anatomical shape of the treat. It’s a puff pastry with lots of butter and a plentiful coating of cinnamon.

This simple treat coated in brown sugar is soft on the inside and crispy on the edges. It’s almost always eaten with a hot drink—the shape lends itself to dunking in coffee.

Puff pastry gets molded into a delicate cone, brushed with a caramel coating that adds more structure, and filled with Bavarian cream.

This sweet bread gets its name from the seashell look it’s famous for.

Pastry chef Cortez likes to put a Mexican twist on traditional European desserts, and cannoli turns out to be a perfect vehicle for his experiments. This one mixes ricotta cheese with cranberries, chocolate chips, and cherries.

This hard cookie takes its name, which translates to “little piggy,” from its shape. It has the flavor of molasses with hints of cinnamon and brown sugar.