These delicious pastries filled with guava and sweetened cream cheese are of Cuban origin, but you can find them in many Latin bakeries. They are particularly popular in Miami.
Of course, you can make homemade puff pastry dough if you enjoy doing so, but frozen puff pastry saves a lot of time. Another shortcut is to make the pastry in one long strip, then slice it into individual portions after it comes out of the oven. This saves you from cutting out many individual squares of pastry (bakeries use this trick as well).
You may be able to find guava paste, which is more solid than the more readily available guava jelly, so it doesn't tend to spread and leak from the pastries as much. But either one will work. One for making your pastelitos look and taste just like the ones from the bakery is the simple sugar glaze that is brushed on them halfway through baking - it's an extra step, but the result is worth the time.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 package (17.3-ounce0 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (2 sheets)
- 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup guava paste or guava jelly
- Prepare the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, and simmer for several minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Beat the cream cheese lightly with the sugar, 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white), and the vanilla.
- Gently unroll one sheet of the puff pastry dough. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the pastry lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Repeat with remaining sheet of pastry.
- Working quickly, place 3 of the strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Spread 1/3 of the guava paste (or jelly) lengthwise down the center of each strip. Top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture.
- Brush the edges of the pastry lightly with water. Top each one with another strip of pastry, and seal the edges well using your finger or a fork. Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon water and brush over the top of the pastries.
- Place the pastries in the oven and bake until they are just turning golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and brush pastries generously with the simple syrup. Return them to the oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until puffed, flaky, and golden. Remove from the oven and slice each pastry crosswise into individual portions. Serve warm.