Cuba Desserts

Guava and Cream Cheese Turnovers-Cuba

Guava or guyaba as it’s known in Spanish is a fruit that not many non-Spanish speaking Americans would know. Although my local supermarket has a (small and grotesquely overpriced) tropical fruit section (i.e. fruit that isn’t a banana, apple or orange), guavas aren’t sold there. Not that I’m inclined to eat one. It’s a rather peculiar fruit and is described as being subtly acidic with a sweetness that intensifies the deeper you get (the fruit is roughly the size of a tennis ball). For many people the biggest turnoff about eating a guava are the seeds. There are loads of them and many find it annoying to try to get them all out just in order to eat the actual fruit. From an appearance perspective I find guavas quite pretty, don’t you agree?

cuculinary.comBut the art behind eating a guava was not the purpose of this post. Nope. It was actually on one of the most to-die for (from a sweet standpoint) dessert recipes one can ever make. In addition to, it was beyond simple and quick. 

I recently bought myself the cookbook/autobiographical travel narrative The Latin Road Home by famed Philadelphia area chef and restaurateur Jose Garces. I’ve only ever eaten at one of his restaurants (Amada which is all about the tapas, literally) although his many others sound divine as well. Hopefully one day I’ll have the chance to try them all out. But for now back to cooking. (I’m planning to have a separate write-up on the book because it is too awesome to not share with my readers.)

So back to guava, pasteles de guayaba to be exact (guava and cream cheese turnovers). This recipe was from the Cuba section of the cookbook which is no surprise since guava is extremely big in the Caribbean islands. As I mentioned above, the recipe is almost effortlessly simple (6 ingredients total, two of which are for the egg wash). 

I did have to make a trip to a Latin grocery store for guava paste (for reference, Goya makes it). However, if you’re not able to find guava paste it’s something you can easily order online or substitute quince paste instead. But stick with paste and not jelly/jam etc.


I would recommend trying to eat them right after they come out of the oven although you can still eat them at room temperature too. 



Pasteles de Guayaba

recipe from The Latin Road Home
1 large egg
1 tbsp cold water
2 (12 by 12-inch) sheets frozen puff pastry
1/4 lb guava paste (about 1/2 cup)
4 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp turbinado sugar (I used standard sugar)
-Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Break together the egg and water to make a wash. 

-Unfold the puff pastry on a large cutting board or other work surface and use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut each sheet into four 6 by 6-inch squares. Brush each square lightly with some of the egg wash. 

-Spoon equal parts (about 1 tbsp each) of guava paste and cream cheese onto the pastry squares, just off center.

 -Fold each square over corner to corner, forming a triangle, and seal by pressing the edges together. (If at any point the puff pastry gets too soft, put back in the freezer for 10 minutes.) Crimp the edges of the pastries with a fork; brush the tops with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar. Arrange the pasteles on the baking sheets and chill them in the freezer for 30 minutes. 

-While the pasteles are chilling, preheat the oven to 30 minutes. 

-Bake the pasteles, rotating the sheets once, until golden and puffed, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. 



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