Mansoura Pastries
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Make Mansoura Middle Eastern Bakery (515) Kings Highway; 718-546-7977) your fist stop. Alan Mansoura was born into a long line of Syrian bakers in Cairo, and with wife Josiane and sons, Ike and David; he's preserving the tradition for the future. Their handmade sesame-sprinkled pastries filled with cheese, meat, or spinach come in a gorgeous variety of shapes and sizes and are bound to delight lovers of Indian samosas or Latin empanadas. Sambusik are half-moons of pie-crust-type pastry; mora are made with phyllo dough. My favorites are the lahmajine, savory little dough rounds topped with ground lamb, pine nuts, tamarind, and tomato paste. They're ideal for quick dinners or cocktail-party hors d'oeuvre. Josiane Mansoura cures her own bottarga, compressed caviar, called batarekh in her native Morocco. At $55 per half pound chunk, it's worth every cent, as you'll see when you shave it over a buttered baguette or hot pasta.

Mansoura is also one of the few remaining practitioners of the art of Mediterranean confectionery. Traditional treats like balls of apricot paste are worked with fresh pistachios, and Turkish delight, a rose-water flavored pistachio confection, is made according to an ancient recipe. Mansoura's kaak (rings of pastry crisped with salt and sesame seeds) are easily the best on Kings Highway. Everything comes in finger friendly proportions: rounds, diamonds, squares- the nibbling opportunities are endless. Be sure to sample the crisp cookies filled with toasty cinnamon-date paste.

Made in NYC Kosher
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