Growing up I remember having large wide and flat cans of guava paste in our pantry – but I never remember doing anything with them. While that memory escapes me, I do remember going through a lot of guava jelly. When the rest of the world was slathering dark purple grape jelly on their peanut butter sandwiches, we were smearing a golden guava jelly with hints of honey. Guava jelly was a staple in our house from sandwiches to morning toast. You can’t find the jelly on the shelves at most stores in North Carolina so I try to stock up when I’m home. I use a lot less these days as I eat a lot less PB&Js.
Several months ago I discovered a pastry shop in Fanta City shopping center that had cream cheese and guava pastries. The bakery reminded me of these same treats we would eat when visiting family in the Tampa area as a child. My grandfather has a serious sweet tooth and he used his granddaughters as an excuse to try any cookie, pastry or doughnut in walking distance. I actually thought he worked at a doughnut shop for many years…who knew he was an electrical engineer!?!
With these food memories in mind, I set out to make a Guava and Cream Cheese Pastry in my home kitchen. I found a shockingly easy recipe in the June 2010 Gourmet Magazine – using frozen store-bought puff pastry! When assembling the pastry I thought everything was going to run out during the backing process but the egg held everything together. The guava paste, which now comes in a weird narrow box, is really sweet so make sure not to add too much. I’ll use less guava next time. Which means, I’ll be making this again very soon.
Guava and Cream Cheese Pastry from Gourmet June 2010
Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Beat egg with a fork, then put 1 1/2 tablespoons egg in a small bowl with water (1/2 tablespoon) and lightly beat to make egg wash. Put remaining beaten egg in a food processor with cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and purée until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Purée guava preserves with lemon juice in cleaned food processor until smooth.
Put a baking sheet in oven to preheat 5 minutes while you prepare pastry.
Roll out pastry on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin into an 11- by 9 1/2-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Transfer 1 piece of pastry to a sheet of foil. Spread cream cheese mixture in a 3 1/2-inch-wide strip down middle of pastry, leaving 1-inch borders on all sides. Dollop 2 rows of preserves lengthwise on top of cheese mixture, about 1 inch apart. Fold remaining piece of pastry in half lengthwise and put folded edge nearest you. Leaving a 1-inch border on sides and top of pastry, cut 1 1/2-inch-long slits every 1/2 inch through folded edge to top border.
Brush some of egg wash around filling. Unfold cut pastry and lay over filling. Lightly press edges to seal and brush top of dough with some egg wash. Bake on foil on hot baking sheet until puffed and golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer pastry to a rack to cool completely.