Monday, September 1, 2014

Florida Bakery of Tampa

Whenever I'm in Tampa vacationing, I have to stock up on pastries at the Florida Bakers. Look at those filo dough pastries, and they're made fresh daily.  And this isn't easy to make filo by hand.  The baker rolls out thin layers of dough and spreads butter over these layers.  My guess is the layers are stacked for baking.  The really good ones have egg yolk in the dough.  YouTube has a good flick on how to make filo dough by hand.  Now bakeries have machines that do this.  

You can find this place by taking the Del Mabre exit from I-75.  Go east, not west.  Drive to Columbus and turn right.  The Florida Bakery is several blocks down that street on the right in a strip mall near Arco-Iris Cuban Restaurant.

A Happy Place:

Guava & Cheese Pastelitos:

The baker layers guava paste and cream cheese on one long layer of of a filo stack and drops the other layer over it before cooking.  After baking, the pastelito loaf is sliced to make individual portions.  Warning: these are as messy as they are good.  Don't eat them in the car unless you have a shop vac at home.

Cream-Cheese Pastelitos:

These cream-cheese pastelitos are made sparely.  The filo dough is infused with cream cheese.  These pastries make better car food.  They are not quite as messy as the other pastelitos.

Guava Pastelitos:

These pastries are loaf sliced after baking, but have only guava inside.  Look how much guava!  My father was a long-time guava lover, so I took a half-dozen to him in New Orleans.  He couldn't wait for me to return to Florida.

Meat Pies:

These meat pies are baked separately and are infused with a Cuban-spiced ground meat before baking.  The tops looked like they were basted with butter prior to putting in the oven.

Shoe Soles:

I don't know what the Cuban name for this pastry, but we called them shoe soles in New Orleans where I grew up.  These are flavored with sugar and cinnamon.  It's almost like there's a honey coating on them.  Whatever good stuff they put on these pastries was baked in.  The final product is scrumptious and crisp.

Cinnamon Twists:

Here is another "twist" to the filo dough menu.  The flat layered dough is flavored with sugar and cinnamon, and then twisted together before baking.  This crisp pastry is good car food as well.

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