Guava Cream Cheese Pastries
Count among Cuba’s gifts to Miami the pastelito. Literally little pastry, it’s a flaky envelope of puff pastry. You can, in theory, fill it with almost anything, but in Miami, the filling of choice is guava and cream cheese, the tropical equivalent of peanut butter and jelly. Puff pastry, vegan cream cheese and guava paste come together for something easy to make, Instagramable as anything, and sublime to eat— crunchy, flaky, creamy, zingy, sticky and sweet in every bite. How to serve: Guava cream cheese pastries are eaten at breakfast with a cafe Cubano, and enjoyed throughout the day just because we can. They’ll be snatched up for brunch, so make a double batch.
- 1 sheet from a 14-ounce package frozen puff pastry *
- 4 ounces vegan cream cheese chilled (about half an 8-ounce container or brick)**
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 4 ounces guava paste about half an 8-ounce brick**
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar entirely optional ****
- Thaw puff pastry sheet as per package instructions.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment or a Silpat.
- In a small bowl, mix together the vegan cream cheese and vegan powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Powdered sugar contains a little corn starch. This helps the cream cheese here keep its shape and not go totally oozy on you.
- Pop vegan cream cheese mixture in the freezer for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Slice guava paste into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
- Unroll the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out so it’s about 10” X12.”
- Slice in half width-wise, so you have 2 pieces, about 5” X 6” Gently place one sheet on prepared baking sheet. Cover the remaining piece with a kitchen cloth to prevent it drying out.
- Take cream cheese mixture from the freezer Spread it evenly on the puff pastry, covering as much surface as possible, and leaving just a little pastry bare at the edges.
- Fit the slices of guava paste on top of the cream cheese, covering as much as possible.
- Take the remaining pastry sheet and place on top of the guava.
- Gently press the edges of the pastry sheets together. If desired, lightly with a little water or plantbased milk to seal. Score the pastry into 8 individual pieces, but do not separate them. Make diagonal slits across the top, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, if using.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until pastry has puffed and turned a rich golden brown, and your kitchen smells buttery. Remove pastry from oven and allow to cool.
- Slice through where you’ve scored the pastry. The pieces should separate easily.
Serves 8 generously. Recipe doubles easily. *Choose frozen puff pastry sheets made with palm oil, not butter, or, Dios mio, lard. ** Different vegan cream cheese brands perform differently. Choose firm, rather than spreadable. *** Guava paste is available in every Miami grocery store, online and in many specialty markets throughout the country. Brands include Iberia and Conchita. **** Demerara is a tan, coarse, minimally refined sugar, available in most grocery stores, Look for it in the baking section. Sprinkling on the pastelitos before baking adds a little sparkle. How to keep: Pastelitos taste best out of the oven. They will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for several days. To reheat, place on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, or just until heated through.
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