A common Latino flavor combination, guava and cheese is the perfect filling for sweet turnovers or pastries. The balance of sweet-tart guava and creamy mild cheese is truly magical!
Pastelitos are flaky Cuban pastries typically filled with cheese and/or fruit preserves. They are easily prepared with frozen puff pastry. A quick dual filling of whipped, lightly sweetened cream cheese, and guava paste or preserves seals the deal. This flavor combination is not uniquely Cuban. I’ve had similarly filled pastries in Puerto Rico, and seen the like on other Latin American menus. The tart and sweet guava is a perfect foil for the tangy cream cheese. The lightly glazed puff pastry pocket is the ideal vessel for indulgence.
How to make guava and cheese pastries
Store-bought puff pastry dough makes this process a breeze. I typically use either Pepperidge Farm of Trader Joe’s brand. The Pepperidge Farm is more readily available, but I find it a little thick, and I don’t like how it’s folded into thirds. I prefer the Trader Joe’s version as it’s made with all butter, is a bit thinner, and is rolled instead of folded. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s only sells their puff pastry seasonally, typically before Thanksgiving and through Christmas. I like to stock up and keep several boxes in my freezer for baking emergencies.
To begin, make the guava and cheese fillings. I find a food processor works well for both. Blitz together cream cheese with a little sugar, lemon juice, and orange blossom water. Next in a clean food processor bowl, blitz the guava paste with orange or lime juice. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry and cut it into 9 squares. Top each square with a dollop of guava filling followed by a dollop of cream cheese filling. I use less than a tablespoon of each filling for each pastry a) to ensure there is enough for all of the dough, and b) because the pastries get comfortably full between the duo of fillings. You want to make sure they aren’t too full so you can easily fold your pastries into triangles.
Arrange the pastries on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and chill until firm. Brush the tops with egg wash and bake until golden. Prepare a simple syrup glaze while the pastries are chilling/baking. You’ll brush the glaze over the pastries the moment they emerge from the oven. This creates a beautiful sheen with a light sweetness without yielding a soggy exterior. The pastry is crispy and flaky, and utterly decadent. These pastries are lovely for company, and easy enough to prepare relatively last minute.
Other recipes you may like
- Easy Cheese Borek
- Mango Tarte Tatin
- Spinach and Artichoke Swirls
- Ham and Cheese Empanadas
- Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
- Cuban Sandwich Empanadas
- Ooh La La (A Mojito-Inspired Craft Cocktail)
Have you ever had Cuban pastelitos or other similar Latin turnovers? What was your favorite filling? Leave me a comment, and don’t forget to rate this recipe if you try it. Thanks!
Pastelitos de Queso y Guayaba (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry dough thawed (from one 17 1/4-ounce package)
- 1 large whole egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 8 ounces guava paste cut into chunks
- 2 teaspoons orange or lime juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- In a mixer or food processor, bear together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and orange blossom water until light and fluffy.
- In a food processor or blender, add the guava pasta and orange or lime juice and process until smooth.
- Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Roll out the first sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch square, 1/8-inch thick. Using a small knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough to measure out 9 squares, 4-by-4-inches each. Add a scant tablespoon of guava topped with scant tablespoon of cream cheese filling, off center, to each square. Brush the egg wash around the filling, fold the pastry into a triangle, and seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Transfer the filled pastries to the prepared baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
- While the pastries chill, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the glaze by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Brush the tops of the chilled pastries with egg wash, then bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway through baking time to ensure even browning.
- Remove from the oven and brush pastries with the simple syrup. Allow the pastries to rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
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