Bring the flavors of Miami to your table with this easy recipe for guava and cheese pastelitos. You don’t need any special equipment to make these Cuban guava and cheese pastries, just a few minutes of prep time. Enjoy them as part of a breakfast spread, as dessert, or with your afternoon cafecito.
Do you know the Cuban equivalent of peanut butter and jelly for iconic flavor combinations? If you know a Cuban, or have set foot in Miami, you know the answer is guava and cheese!
It doesn’t matter if you’re at a walk-up window browsing the pastries, looking at a bakery menu, or perusing the desserts at your favorite sit-down restaurant. Guava and cheese in some form can be found everywhere.
That includes this blog, by the way. I have a guava and cream cheese ice cream recipe and a guava cheese braided bread already posted. There’s this recipe (of course), and a few more in the posting queue. Welcome to Goodie Godmother, your source for all things guava cheese, haha.
Funny side note, I didn’t even realize how often I used this combination until someone in our church small group pointed it out. They pretty much got guava and cheese-something recipes every other week for a month. Everyone was happy.
TLDR – make the guava and cheese pastelitos. Pastelitos make people happy.
What are pastelitos?
Pastelito is a Spanish word that directly translates to “little cake”. It’s a catch-all word used for most pastries, including those made with guava and cream cheese.
In Spanish, you would call this recipe pastelitos de guayaba y queso (pronounced “gwhy-ah-ba eee kay-so), literally, guava and cheese pastries.
The great thing about these is, that they’re so easy to make! A pastelito is just a little pocket of pastry dough filled with guava paste and a bit of cream cheese or queso blanco. You can make them large or small. Either way, these are the most darling and delicious treats you’ll make again and again!
How to make guava and cheese pastelitos
As I said, this recipe only requires a few minutes to prepare. The catch to that is you need the right ingredients. So, this section will cover the ingredients and method, plus a few alternatives.
Guava and cheese pastry ingredients
The first ingredient you’ll need is your pastry dough. The best pastelitos have a flaky outer layer that we can easily achieve with store-bought puff pastry.
Can you make your own puff pastry? Yes, you can, and I’ve actually done so following Rosemary’s recipe (linked in the last sentence). But here’s the thing, it takes a little time, and makes a bit of a mess.
What was quick and easy in my pre-kid stage of life is different than quick-and-easy in the “hands-on with the littles” stage of life. Therefore, in my current life stage, quick and easy means using store-bought puff pastry. As a side note darlings, I encourage you to embrace your stage.
The second major ingredient is cream cheese! Now, some of you may have opinions about this. There are two different kinds of cheese commonly used in Cuban pastries. The first is queso blanco, which is a very mild white cheese. It’s a little creamy, but not quite as creamy as option two.
If you guess that option 2 is cream cheese, kudos! Cream cheese has a similar mild flavor to queso blanco, but it’s easier to find, usually less expensive, and delicious. I don’t think I’ve met one person yet who doesn’t like cream cheese in at least one recipe.
If you would prefer to use queso blanco, that’s fine. The recipe card will call for cream cheese though. I always use cream cheese in this recipe.
Third, you’ll need guava paste. Guava paste is not the same as guava jelly, it’s much thicker. You can find both in the Hispanic or Latin Foods section of most grocery stores.
If for some reason you cannot find guava paste, you can make these with guava jelly. The guava flavor won’t be as pronounced, and a little messier to fold, but it can work.
What is the difference between guava paste and guava jelly? Which is best for this recipe?
Guava jelly is simply jelly made with guava. You’ll find it in jars, and it has an easily spoonable and spreadable consistency.
Guava paste comes in a brick or a round shape. You can slice it easily, and it’s very sweet. It’s almost impossible to spread guava paste.
For this guava pastry recipe, I recommend the bricks since it’s easier to slice into rectangles. The paste also provides a more concentrated guava flavor, which is good in these mini pastelitos.
If you’re making larger pastries, about the size of a standard turnover, the jelly provides a better texture and enough flavor.
I always make my guava cheese pastelitos in mini because they’re the perfect 2-bite size! At a recent event, I took a large platter for the dessert table, and so many people commented on the size. They said it was just enough to satisfy without being overwhelming. I know this was a compliment because there weren’t even crumbs left when I picked up my platter!
A few notes about preparing this recipe and timing
The steps to make these pastries are rather straightforward (yay), but there are a few notes I’d love to share regarding timing. You might find these come in handy if you’d like to prepare them for guests or a busy weekend.
First, the best way to thaw puff pastry so it’s easy to work with is in the fridge overnight. Have I forgotten and let it thaw on the counter in the 40 minutes suggested on the package? Absolutely. Thawing is more even if you do it slowly and overnight. Your puff pastry should still be cool while you’re working with it, but not cold enough to crack.
Second, I wouldn’t recommend freezing the assembled pastries to bake on demand. Cream cheese gets a little gritty when frozen, so you won’t get the right texture. You can assemble your pastries up to a day in advance and keep them covered in the refrigerator.
Third, if your puff pastry gets warm while you are assembling your pastelitos, refrigerate the pastries for about 10-15 minutes while your oven preheats. Experience has taught me that you get way less oozing of both filling and butter if you bake them cold.
Fourth, don’t chill them on your baking sheets. Keep the parchment-lined baking sheets at room temperature, and chill the pastelitos on another sheet or large cutting board. That way, the sheets heat up pretty quickly in the oven. The combination of the pan heating quicker than the pastries gives you a lovely puff and a nice, crisp bottom.
I have attempted to bake the pastries on pre-heated baking sheets, and it just hasn’t been worth the trouble. It was very difficult to tell the difference between pre-heated sheets and room-temperature sheets in this recipe.
Fifth, the egg wash and turbinado sugar are optional additions. I like to add at least the egg wash for a nice golden color. Turbinado sugar is a coarse sugar and gives a nice texture and a bit of additional sweetness. If you don’t have it on hand, don’t worry about it!
Finally, while I’m partial to warm guava and cheese pastelitos, they also taste delicious at room temperature! If you don’t plan to eat all of them the day they are baked, store the extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator after they are completely cool. They taste best if enjoyed within 3 days and can be warmed a little in a toaster oven for that fresh-baked texture!
What to serve with guava and cream cheese pastries
Cuban coffee, of course!
Of course, if that’s not an option, your favorite warm drink will do quite nicely. While a coffee/tea and a pastelito are one of my favorite combinations though, my girls just eat them on their own.
If you are looking to serve these as part of a brunch or breakfast spread (hint – Mother’s and Father’s Day are coming), serve with fruit and your favorite breakfast protein.
I hope you love this recipe, darlings! Happy baking!
- 1-pound box store-bought puff pastry (2 sheets)
- 7 ounces guava paste (see notes)
- 4 ounces cream cheese (see notes)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (optional)
- water for sealing pastries
- If your puff pastry is frozen, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. The sheets should still be cool, but not so cold that they crack when you unwrap them.
- Place your first sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll the rectangle out an additional half inch. Trim any uneven sides (see notes).
- Cut the pastry into 9 equal triangles.
- Dab the first triangle with a little water along the edges. Place a piece of guava paste and a piece of cream cheese in the center of the pastry. Fold the pastry in half so the edges line up and completely cover the guava and cream cheese. Use a fork to press the edges together and create a seal.
- Repeat step 4 until you've filled all the pastry squares from the first sheet. Transfer them to a parchment-lined cutting board or baking sheet (one you aren't using) and set aside.
- Repeat steps 2 through 5 with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place all the assembled pastries in the refrigerator while you preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Once your oven has come to temperature, remove the pastelitos from the fridge and arrange them between both prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 ½-2 inches between each pastry.
- Use a sharp knife to cut 2 small slits into the top of each pastry.
- Whisk your egg with a teaspoon of water and use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the pastelitos. Top with a sprinkle of coarse sugar, if using.
- Bake for 13-17 minutes until the pastelitos are fragrant and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before enjoying, or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely! Serve pastelitos slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Leftover pastelitos can be stored in an airtight container (once they're completely cool) and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in a toaster oven for just-baked texture.
- Most packages of guava paste are in the 14-16 ounce range. You'll use less than half for this recipe. If you store guava paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it has a months-long shelf life. See the post for other recipes you can use guava paste!
- You'll use about half a brick of cream cheese. Again, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to use in another recipe. Cream cheese has a much shorter shelf life than guava paste.
- A pizza wheel is a *great* tool to trim puff pastry in this recipe!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 104mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 3g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.