I had posted to the existance of this place a while back, but it took the gift of a bottle of Maltese Kinnie (a chinotto-like Maltese soda) to trek out to LIC for a taste of this bakery's pastizzi.
When arrived at around ten to 1 pm, the gates were already down on the storefront. I called the number on the awning and, when I told the person on the other end that I was looking to buy some pastizzi, he perked up and said come around to the factory entrance. I asked for a half dozen, three each of cheese and meat. He disappeared into the the frozen area as I watched a half-dozen men decorating cookies with airbrushes and creating amazing winter scenes out of marzipan snowmen and leaves. (Mental note - go back when the shop is open so as to check out what else they offer.)
A couple of minutes later I was $7.50 poorer (they cost $1.25 each) but six pastizzi richer. I have no idea if they have other Maltese offerings available, but this seemed to be the thing to order. The man I spoke with told me if I ever needed pastizzi when the store was closed to just come around to the side entrance. He seemed to be very proud of his pastizzi and probably makes them for the dwindling Maltese population of Astoria. (He said something to me in Maltese but I informed him that, although I do have the dark skin of someone from the Mediterranean, I am mostly Polish and Lithuanian.)
Yesterday afternoon, I baked up one of the meat pastizzi. It's essentially beef and peas, probably sauteed with onions and some other spices and possibly some wine, in a homemade puff pastry. The filling was incredibly tasty, although I think the shell suffered from baking it without allowing it to thaw first. Still, it was very good and went well with the Kinnie. I know very little of Maltese customs, so i don't know if this is supposed to be a breakfast item or daytime snack. Also, the cheese one seems that it could also be eaten as a dessert, although I haven't baked one of those, yet. (I picked at the cheese filling and it tasted like a sweet and salty ricotta mixture.)
So, if anyone wants to try a sample of the isle of Malta, I'd head over to JMJ Bakery as soon as you can. Perhaps they have other offerings as well in the retail store, although I don't know what the hours are. (On Saturdays, I'd say it would be in your best interest to arrive before 1:30 pm, although the official closing time is 2 pm.)
JMJ Baking Corp
38-11 23rd Street
Long Island City NY 11100