You see rows of pastelitos at every Salvadoran bakery in town -- and there are more of them in San Francisco than SFoodie can count. With their swollen centers, pregnant with jams, and edges twisted as neatly as a ballerina's chignon, they look like miniature hand pies promising a gush of bright fruit with every bite.
But most of the pastelitos we've eaten over the years have been an unearthly color of yellow, either tough and crumbly or a brick of stale dough. Not our favorite Salvadoran pan dulce. (That would be the quesadilla, sweet cheese cake.)
However, the Excelsior location of Pan Lido Bakery (which is run independently of the Pan Lido in the Mission) has the touch: There's a friable graininess to
the shortbread shell of its pastelitos that doesn't stale easily. In
fact, we've passed by the bakery as new cookies were coming
out of the oven, and the crisp, warm cookies weren't as good as the ones
that had time to cool. (Shocking.)
They're sweet, but not too sweet,
and not so fatty that we're left with an aftertaste of old Crisco. Under
the dome, you can find plum compote, guava jam, or mangos, but our
favorite might be the pastelitos de leche, filled with a dollop of a
milk jam, sweetened milk cooked down to the consistency of custard.
pastelito costs 50 cents, making it easy to sample your way down the
row of eight cookies for less than $5.
Pan Lido (Crocker Amazon location): 5216 Mission (at Pope), 333-2140.