It all started with the alfajores, delicate, buttery sandwich cookies. Jessy Nahmias, a former math teacher, was baking these confections from her native Peru and, egged on by admiring friends, began selling them online via Etsy.
Then came the empanadas. She began selling the ubiquitous Latin American savory turnovers, first at school fairs and then at food festivals. After deciding to make it official, she spent 18 months searching for a location that was the right size and price and had most of the equipment she needed. In April, Jessy’s Pastries opened in a Long Beach Road storefront that used to host The Pretzel Stop (now located a mile and a half up the road in Rockville Centre).
None of the pastries at Jessy’s are strictly traditional. “They are a mixture of Peru and my life here,” she said. In Peru, alfajores are filled with dulce de leche, but Nahmias uses that as a starting point, adding Nutella and rum-infused dulce de leche to the lineup, powdering some with sugar, rolling some in coconut flakes, dipping others in chocolate (milk or dark). Alfajores range from $1.50 to $2, or buy 25 for $35. Online, they are $20 for a dozen.
On the empanada front, Nahmias’ unorthodox version of the ubiquitous Latin American savory turnover is baked, but the crisp snap of the pastry feels like fried. Beyond classic beef and chicken, she also stuffs them with Buffalo chicken, spinach and cheese, and macaroni and cheese. Since she’s also a long-standing vegan, Nahmias offers two fillings made with no animal products: black beans with corn and red pepper, and soy chorizo with plantains. Empanadas are $3.75 apiece, two for $6.50. Larger-quantity prices start at $70 for 25.
Jessy’s Pastries is mostly takeout, but it’s such a cheerful little shop, patrons sometimes pull up a stool at the table in front of the counter to enjoy a snack or light meal in full view of the kitchen. Round out your empanadas with a salad, sweet plantains, rice and beans or quinoa salad ($4 for small, $7 for large).
Jessy’s Pastries is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
3212 Long Beach Rd, Oceanside,