Today I bring you the perfect companion for a cup of coffee: pastelitos. Pastelitos is the term used in Cuba when referring to this flaky pastry. If you follow this blog you will know that I have already shared a pastelito recipe before, and I see how that can be confusing as the former were savory and made with a different dough. I have also previously shared a recipe for pasteles which are even more different and not at all similar to what you are seeing now. To get the full picture, I encourage you to take a look at my Dominican Pastelitos and Pasteles en Hoja recipe.
To make it more clear, almost every country in Latin America have a recipe for a filled pastry of some sort. The ingredients and name for it may vary and that’s what’s fun about the Lunes Latinos posts. It is through this food series that I want to show you how Latin food can be so similar and different at the same time from country to country.
The recipe I am sharing today, it is more popular in Cuba. This pastelito version is more of a dessert type. The quintessential Latin Caribbean filling for it is guava paste. Although you may find pineapple or prune fillings as well. Sometimes the filling is just the fruit paste or preserve and other times it is filled with fruit and sweet cream cheese. If is filled with cream cheese only then it is called Quesitos and that is my favorite kind. Quesitos are more popular in Puerto Rico.
Personaly I like quesitos better. I enjoy guava but I like to control how much fruit I taste and that is why I have come up with this awesome idea that I hope comes handy for you too. Instead of filling the pastries with fruit and cheese, I have made a Guava sauce that it is perfect to dip of drizzle the pastelitos with. I am in love with this idea as the sauce is much lighter and if needed can be infused with other flavors and spices (not done traditionally). I totally recommend ginger, cinnamon or my new favorite spice cardamom. I like this because you can get as much or as little Guava with your cheese pastry as you prefer.
Another variant to this recipe is the shape of the pastry. See below a few of the endless options.
All you will need is a small square or round piece of pastry. Then get creative. Here are my favorites:
1) very simple, take two corners and fold them to the center
2) easy peasy, top it with another pastry square and press the edges lightly
3) just one fold from corner to corner and seal the edges with a fork
4) take two small discs, fill one and cover it with the other, sealing the edges with a fork
5) using just one larger disc, fill the center and fold in a half moon shape, sealing edges with a fork as well
After all your filled pastries are done, brush them with an egg wash and they will be ready to go in the oven. Once baked, they will come out of the oven flaky and crispy. You can then generously drizzle them with the Guava Cardamom sauce, keep the sauce on the side or completely skip the sauce, that is the beauty of it (although I highly recommend you give the Guava sauce a try).
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (10 x 15), thawed
- 1 egg
- extra sugar to sprinkle on the pastries (optional)
- 1 cup corn syrup or simple syrup to brush the pastries (optional)
- 1 cup guava jelly
- 1 tablespoon of water
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.
- In a bowl combine and mix well cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.
- Roll puff pastry sheets in a floured surface. Cut each pastry sheet into twelve equal squares.
- Scoop 1 small dollop of the sweet cream cheese filling, drop it in the center of the pastry squares and fold or shape as desired, refer to the options above.
- Whisk the egg with a splash of water, this will be your egg wash, set aside.
- Place pastries in a cookie sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Sprinkle the pastries with sugar (optional) and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F.
- While the pastries are in the oven, in a small pot, heat the guava jelly, water and ground cardamom. Once heated and mixed well, serve and set aside.
- When the pastries are out of the oven, if you did not sprinkle them with sugar, you can lightly brush them with corn syrup or your own simple syrup (optional)
- Let the pastries cool for 2 minutes or so as the filling will be very hot.