Over the holidays I spent time in Miami, visiting friends. During our stay, our host took me to a wonderful Venezuelan bakery to pick up some goodies that his family had ordered for their Christmas eve dinner. We weren’t there to try any treats; yet we couldn’t help but to sample the selection.
One of the amazing treats I sampled was a Guava and Cheese Pastelito. It was a delicious buttery flaky pastry with a bonus of sweet guava and gooey cheese filling, and I was instantly hooked. AG immediately suggested adding this to our list of trial recipes, but I was intimidated at first. How could I possibly live up to these Cuban-inspired delights?
Since returning to Texas, this sweet pastry has been on my mind, and with a bit of encouraging from le manfriend, as well as a bit of googling, I settled on a recipe to try.
Boy oh boy, did these Pastelitos turn out better than I could have imagined! Admittedly, my first attempt resulted in an over-done crust and not enough filling. But I’m not one to give up easily, and the second attempt? Delicioso!!
What you’ll need to make Pastelitos: a food processor or blender (you can also mix by hand; it will just require a bit more energy!), a rolling pin (or a recycled wine bottle with the label removed), a baking mat or baking sheet, and a pastry brush.
Start by defrosting your puff pastry sheets (this will take about 20-30 minutes). Preheat your oven to 425F and beat egg with a whisk or fork. Remove about 1 1/2 tbsp egg and set aside.
In your food processor (or blender), combine remaining egg, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Puree this mixture until smooth and creamy.
Unfold your thawed puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to thin the dough. Cut the dough into six rectangles (they do not have to be perfect rectangles, as you can see!), and divide cream cheese filling among the pastry rectangles. Each rectangle will have about 1-2 tbsp of cream cheese on top.
Top the cream cheese filling with about a tbsp of guava preserves. Then fold the pastries by taking two opposite corners, pinch and blend together with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining two corners. You’ll want to make sure that the dough is well blended together, so there are no holes. If you have holes on the sides of your pastry, the guava will run and burn. And who wants to lose any of that delicious guava filling??
Place folded pastries on your baking mat and top each one with your egg wash (that 1 1/2 tbsp of egg that you set aside earlier), using a pastry brush.
Pop those bad boys on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (this was the mistake I made on my first try – if they’re not on the middle rack, they’ll come out burnt on top and dry inside).
I try to err on the safe side and set a timer for about 15 minutes to check on them. If they’re not golden brown on top yet, I put them back in for a few more minutes.
Let them cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in (trust me, you don’t want to jump the gun and burn the roof of your mouth!). Once they’re completely cooled, have at it!
Check out that guava filling peeking out, just begging for you to take a BIG bite. 🙂
Guava and Cheese Pastelitos
(Recipe adapted from Epicurious)
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (defrosted)
- 1 large egg
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup guava preserves or paste
Defrost puff pastry sheet, while preheating oven to 425F. Beat egg with whisk, then set aside 1 1/2 tbsp beaten egg. Combine remaining egg, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice in food processor. Blend until pureed and creamy.
Roll out puff pastry sheet with rolling pin, then cut into six rectangles. Divide cream cheese filling among rectangles, placing in the middle of the dough. Top with about 1 tbsp guava paste. Fold each pastry by taking two opposite corners, and pinch and blend together. Repeat with remaining two corners, making sure there are no holes on the side.
Place on baking mat and brush with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp egg. Bake in oven on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Let cool completely.
Tools you’ll need: food processor or blender, rolling pin, baking mat or baking sheet, and pastry brush.