In last week's look into Newark's sweets scene, I mentioned that my favorite version in New York comes from Flushing's New Flushing Bakery, half a step away from the 7 train at Roosevelt and Main. Like all Chinese renditions of the Portuguese tart,* it's looser and sweeter than the bakery's Hong Kong version, more creamy and custard-like.
* You can thank Portugal's colony in Macau for this bit of cross-cultural pastry pollination.
That custard is some of the best I've ever had, period—full of vanilla, almond, and buttery accents, full-bodied but not heavy or oversweet. But it's the crust that makes this tart, dozens of paper-thin layers of laminated dough that separate and crisp up into something that crackles and shatters on first bite. The crust holds up just well enough to deliver its payload, then melts in your mouth—a level of pastry quality that goes above and beyond the expected Chinese bakery norm.
New Flushing Bakery's tarts are baked throughout the day, and as often as not the ones I receive are still warm from the oven. This is likely what makes them so incomparably good, so make sure to ask if any are still warm when you place your order. Though I'd advise sticking to the Portuguese-style tarts; the bakery's other versions, like Hong Kong-style, milk tarts, and mango lack the same magic.
Oh, and the price? $1.25 each. Buy three and the fourth is on the house. Try finding a similarly awesome pastry in New York for that.
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