Pastelitos de Guava (Guava pastries) are a typical Latin American/Caribbean dessert made with cream cheese and guava paste encased in puff pastry and baked to golden perfection. In the US they are extremely popular in Southern Florida and other areas with large Hispanic populations. These sweet pastelitos de guava are a close cousin to the savory pastelitos which are usually filled with meat (chicken or beef) or cheese.
Taste of Pastelitos de Guava
The combination of sweet and salty, creamy and crunchy will delight your taste buds and your tummy. So why not eat a few. What the heck? Just do a few more crunches at the gym. It is certainly worth it! You can enjoy pastelitos de guava with a café con leche (espresso with milk) or on their own. They also make a handy last minute dessert to take to a party or an office breakfast.
Tips for Pastelitos
I will be extremely honest with you and disclose the fact that I normally make my pastelitos de guava with store bought puff pastry. It makes the process so much easier, not to mention quicker. I find that making your own puff pastry is not only labor intensive, but it sometimes doesn't turn out. It's moody! I buy the Goya brand guava paste which my grocery store carries in their Hispanic Food section. I want to stress that you should not use guava jelly. It won't work for this guava recipe. It will ooze out all over the place. Been there, done that!
What is Guava?
Guava paste comes in a round tin. Don't be freaked out by the round tin shape you will see upon opening the can. Try to put can-shaped cranberry sauce out of your mind! Taste and texture are completely different too. You can also use guava paste as an accompaniment to cheese (think Brie, or Farmer's cheese). I am currently experimenting to create other tasty recipes using guava paste. Give me a couple of weeks!
Guava is an ovoid shaped fruit believed to be original to Southern Mexico. It is common throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, West Indies and Bermuda. It is also widely cultivated in India. Guavas were introduced to Florida around 1847. It is an evergreen tropical shrub of the myrtle family. There are multiple varieties, each with slightly different characteristics.
Guavas are considered a "super fruit" among nutritionists: 100 g of guava contains 5000 micrograms of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant), this is twice as much as tomatoes. It is also a great source of vitamin C and soluble fiber (yes, we all want a healthy colon). So, if you are hesitating to have that second pastelito de guava, think: "It's just fruit!"
Step by step photos:
- Gather all your ingredients and have them measured out and ready to go. Tip: Take out the cream cheese early and let it come to room temperature so it is soft. Take out the frozen puff pastry at the same time and allow to thaw. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Gently roll out the puff pastry one sheet on a lightly floured surface then cut into 9 equal squares. Using a teaspoon, place some of the cream cheese on each square. Place a teaspoon of guava paste on top of the cream cheese.
- Make an egg wash by beating one egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Brush the egg wash around the perimeter of the square.
- Fold each square into a triangle and press around all sides. Brush the sides with the egg wash. You can crimp the edges with a fork.
- Place on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg wash.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when cool.
Frequently asked questions:
- How do I store the pastelitos? It is best to heat them while still warm and have cooled off slightly so you don't burn your mouth on the hot filling. You can store them in the refrigerator sealed in a container for 4-5 days.
- Can I freeze the guava pastelitos? It is best not the freeze them as they have dairy and it may have an off texture when thawed.
- What about other fillings? Absolutely! The pastelitos are a blank canvas for flavors and would work well with homemade fruit jams as an example. Get creative!
If you love Latin food then you have to try some of my all time favorite dishes or bookmark them for later. Here are some of the most popular ethnic dishes, their history and ingredients to make at home. There are two savory types of pastelitos you can make in a similar way. Pastelitos de pollo have a shredded chicken filling and pastelitos de carne have a spicy ground beef filling.
Mexican Pork Carnitas: Make this in the slow cooker and then broil for crispy goodness.
Cuban Ropa Vieja: A true comfort food of slow cooked beef served over rice.
Latin Style Black Beans: If you have never tried these you are missing out and they are so easy!
Pastelitos de Guava Recipe
- 1 package of frozen puff pastry thawed
- 6 oz. cream cheese
- 8 oz. guava paste
- 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp of water
- 2 Tbsp powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Make the egg wash.
- On a lightly floured surface, carefully unroll each sheet of puff pastry and gently stretch it out all directions using a rolling pin. (one stretch each way is fine)
- Cut each pastry sheet into 9 equal squares. Using a teaspoon spread softened cream cheese around the center of each square. Place a small piece (about a teaspoon) of guava paste on top of cheese spread.
- Brush around the perimeter of each square with egg wash.
- Fold over to make a triangle. Crimp the edges.
- Brush every triangle with the egg wash. You can also brush the top of each one for a shiny baked look when finished.
- Place on top of a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for about 15 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Originally published June 2014 and updated August 2020.