Week 22 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is pastry. For this challenge, I made a favorite Cuban treat: pastelitos de guayaba y queso (small guava paste and cream cheese pastries). These were extremely easy to make and very good. I tried out some different shapes with the dough and the turnover/triangle shape seemed to work out the best. Most of the authentic pastelitos I’ve eaten have been triangular so this is probably already common knowledge. If you like these and don’t live near a Cuban bakery, I really recommend trying this recipe. With the Goya guava paste, simple syrup glaze, and flaky dough they’re pretty true to the traditional pastry. A word of warning: these are a high-sugar, “dessert crack” kind of food so proceed with caution.
Yields 18 small pastries.
1 box of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets
1 can of Goya Guava Paste (I bought the big one and only used half of it here.)
1 8 oz package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I used the fat-free kind. You can easily make this recipe vegan by using Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1. Take the puff pastry sheets out of the freezer. Open the package and break the two sheets apart. Lay them on a plate to thaw about 40 minutes before you plan to start making the pastelitos.
2. Make the simple syrup glaze by putting the sugar and water in a pot and boiling it until the sugar is completely dissolved. Take it off the heat and let it cool until the pastelitos are assembled.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut 18 one inch squares of the guava paste and cream cheese.
4. Unfold the pastry sheets. Cut each sheet into nine even squares. Place a square of guava paste towards the bottom of each pastry sheet square. Top the guava paste with a piece of cream cheese. Fold the dough over to form a triangle (or square but triangle worked out better). Seal the edges of the dough to make an envelope with the guava paste and cream cheese completely sealed inside. You can wet your finger with a little water to help seal the dough edges.
5. Place the pastelitos on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a brush to coat the outside of the pastries with the simple syrup. Bake for 15-20 minutes. I turned my cookie sheet after about 10 minutes and baked for another 7 minutes or so after that. When the pastelitos are flaky and slightly browned on top, they are ready.