Food writer Barbara Lauterbach finds her new favorite pastries at Aissa Sweets
Having consumed pastries in many countries, it was a gustatory surprise to find the best I had ever tasted in Concord. Aissa Sweets, owned by Ahmad and Evelyn Aissa, is producing an incredibly good line of products from a kitchen close to their home.
The Aissas left Syria two years ago, when the political situation escalated. They settled in Evelyn’s home state, first in Dover and then relocating to Concord this year. Ahmad had been taught his craft by a baker friend in Syria, and now produces his pastries, entirely by hand, while attending Southern NH University to get his degree in justice and business.
The sweets Ahmad produces single-handedly include a 16-ounce assortment box of Cashew Fingers, Pistachio Baklava, Cashew Bracelets, and Pistachio Rolls. Evelyn packs the sweets in an attractive box, a perfect gift item. They also do a Tasting Box (four ounces) that contains several of the mentioned items.
They cater events and the delicate, sugar-dusted Maamoul cookies, stuffed with dates or pistachios, are a favorite at weddings.
The Assias pride themselves on using all natural ingredients — the fruits in their creations are all organic.
Ahmad makes all the filo dough by hand, having perfected a technique for stretching the delicate dough, which takes more than 30 minutes. He’s had to adapt to different types of flours to achieve the result he remembers from Syria. Aissa Sweets can be found at Philbrick’s Fresh Market, Portsmouth; Angela’s Pasta and Cheese Shop, Manchester; Good Karma Café, Exeter (where they feature their vegan sweets); Golden Harvest Market, South Berwick, Maine and Nature’s Way Market, South Berwick, Maine. They would eventually like to have their own store.