Pastry Hearts Fill Us With Joy and Suspicious Sugary Paste

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Pastry Hearts - Russ's Bakery
1612 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: 716.835.7080‎
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"It's hard to find a truly bad Pastry Heart unless it's a day old, in which case you might never get what makes this dessert so special."

In Western New York, it is known as the Pastry Heart, but elsewhere, the exact equivalent is all but impossible to find despite the simplicity of its ingredients. Based upon French puff pastry, and resembling a palmier, the best versions of this heart-shaped dessert are loaded with what seems like an impossible depth of bright white sugar icing, while lesser versions have thinner top coatings.

The Story: If you're from Buffalo, you probably take the Pastry Heart for granted, but if you ever leave the area, you'll find that it is all but impossible to find, and permanently stuck on your mind until you get another fix. As the name suggests, the Pastry Heart is a flaky golden pastry, shaped from layers of puff pastry that peel off vertically rather than horizontally as you peel or chew. Each piece is topped by a sugary icing that starts out looking dry, but almost inevitably gives way to a gooey, sweet softness. Unusually, Google searches for the Pastry Heart phrase will bring you to results that bear no resemblance to the Buffalo version of this treat. Our photos are of the authentic version.

Best Location: Mom and pop bakeries such as Russ's Bakery on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst tend to make Pastry Hearts the right way - with enough goop that you know you really shouldn't eat two (well, three) of these in one sitting, lest you suffer a congestive failure. Russ's version is physically larger than ones you'll see at other places: one heart is large enough for two people to share, and sells for $3. Our top picture here depicts Russ's version.

Wegmans supermarkets make a more than passable but less than completely thrilling version, preserving the shape and ingredients but typically missing the slightly moist, frosting-saturated texture of the original. Thanks to Wegmans' ever-increasing local footprint, their version is the easiest to find, and close enough to great to try if you're in a pinch.

Worst Location: Tough call. It's hard to find a truly bad Pastry Heart unless it's a day old, in which case you might never get what makes this dessert so special.

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Comments (3)

C Kipp :

This is hilarious...I was just searching google for a place to find pastry hearts and the only links that came up were for Buffalo bakeries. My husband has been looking around here (Rochester) for pastry hearts for me to no avail. When I found this site, I read it aloud to him and we laughed because it's pretty much exactly right. I've never tasted a Wegmans pastry heart - they don't have them at our Wegmans here in Rochester (that I know of at least...). I always found good ones at the Broadway Market, by the way...

Will M :

Wow. Funny you should mention that Google turns up something completely different! Thats exactly how I found this site! Great information. The Pastry Heart adds to Buffalo's great food list.

wendy :

If you are looking for pastry hearts in rochester, tops on buffalo road sells them!

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