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GuavaCheesePastry.TheCubanReuben.comA few weeks ago, my friend and editor of The Nosher, Shannon, came to visit. We planned to spend some time together visiting, cooking, and bridging the gaps within our relationship that had developed via email and online correspondence. It was so nice to meet Shannon in person, and we quickly realized we had lots in common.

When Shannon asked me what she could bring to our gathering, I suggested she stop at my all-time favorite bakery, Porto’s, to pick up my #1 treat: Guava and Cheese Pastries, which Porto’s accurately calls, “Refugiados,” or “Refugees.” I’ve explained in the past that I think this is the perfect name for these strudels, because one bite of these babies transports any Cuban-native right back to their motherland!  But for my culinary adventure with Shannon, I had big plans for this batch.

GuavaandCheesePastries.TheCubanReuben.com
This pastry works great regular-sized or in the 2-bite variety.

Since I no longer live particularly close to this bakery, I decided that under Shannon’s watchful eye, I would attempt to duplicate the guava and cheese magic at home. Fear not, loyal Porto’s fans… I still plan to buy them when I’m in the area, but for the 95% of the time that I am not, I thought it’d be a good idea for me to learn to make them myself. The good news? They’re SUPER simple to make! The bad news? They’re SUPER simple to make!

Taste Test. TheCubanReuben.com
Evidence of our official taste test. Can you tell which is which?

Although I love to cook, I’ve never believed baking to be my strength in the kitchen. Sure, I can hold my own with a few cakes and breads, but a baker I am not (at least, not yet). Shannon, on the other hand, has proven herself to be a baking maven, and I was so thankful she were here during my big experiment. She suggested alternative tips and tricks to help me master this dish, and in the end, our official taste-testers had a very difficult time telling the difference between the original and the home-made version.

JennyShannon.TheCubanReuben.com
Shannon gets close for an official kitchen selfie.

To Shannon, I am thrilled that our mutual love of food and blogging brought us together, and am immensely thankful for the opportunity to be a contributor to The Nosher. You’re welcome to visit anytime!

_____________________

*I do hear from time to time that some of the more authentically Cuban ingredients I use are sometimes hard to find. If you have a hard time finding guava paste at your local international market, know that it is easy to find online. Here’s a link to a Kosher variety.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Guava and Cheese Pastry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Cuban
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Guava and cheese are the stars of the classic Cuban breakfast pastry.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 1 box of frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 8oz bar of cream cheese
  • 1 package of guava paste
  • 1 Tbs. coarse sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Create an egg wash by combining the whisked egg and the water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle powdered sugar on flat surface, and lay out puff pastry dough on top.
  4. Cut dough into 12 equal squares, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. In the middle of 6 of the squares, add 1 heaping Tbs. of guava paste and top with 1 heaping Tbs. of cream cheese (Note: The amount of filling depends on personal taste). Brush the perimeter of these squares with egg wash.
  6. On the other 6 squares, score the top with 3-4 lines, lengthwise, careful not to slice all the way to the top and bottom of the square. Top the the previous 6 squares. Press edges to seal.
  7. (Optional: You can now add an extra horizontal score on each end of the dough to add in extra puffing).
  8. Brush the top dough with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and fully puffed.
  9. Let stand on baking sheet for 3 minutes, and then cool on wire rack.
Notes
note: To make mini-pastries, cut each of the 6 squares in 4, and fill accordingly. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

 

Shavuot with Rabbi Howard: Tiramisu

Tiramisu. TheCubanReuben.comThis past week, our friend and newly minted rabbi, Howard, invited us to his home to celebrate Shavuot. As the custom on Shavuot is to serve dairy dishes, Howard challenged his guests to a “cheese-off.” Anyone who knows me knows that I take cooking challenges very seriously, so Kenny and I put our heads together, and brainstormed what we wanted to bring to the celebration. I suggested my Buy propranolol online from Ireland, which resembles a crust-less cheesecake, but I made that last year, and Kenny vetoed this idea. Then, I suggested my herb and goat cheese stuffed Buy synthroid in Virginia Beach, but Kenny had something else in mind. He wanted us to bring something nobody else would ever think of bringing: Tiramisu.

Tiramisu.Slice.TheCubanReuben.comKenny and I learned to make truly authentic Tuscan-style tiramisu while on our honeymoon in Italy. During our highlight tour of the country, we spent some time in the Tuscan hilltop town, Cortona, where Allessandra Federici opened up her home to us, as she taught us to cook traditional Italian recipes. This was, by far, the best day of the honeymoon, and when Kenny suggested tiramisu for the party at Howard’s house, I knew just the recipe.

WholeTiramisu.TheCubanReuben.comSince classic tiramisu calls for the use of *raw eggs, we felt the need to make a disclaimer when we arrived at Howard’s, but Howard assured me that if it tasted good, it would get eaten. Sure enough, as soon as we set it down, it wasn’t long before word got out about its rich coffee and mascarpone flavor, and the party-goers went at it. As we ate, played a really fun and new board game (team Stempel won!), and discussed Howard’s plans for the future, we gave Howard a lovely send-off, filled with cheesey/dairy goodness and good memories.

Later, Kenny shared with me that since tiramisu is his favorite dessert, and suggested we don’t need to wait for Shavuot to make it again.  Kenny has a big graduation coming up this week. Who knows… maybe he’ll get a double dose of the good stuff.

*Note: My dear friend Ali, who is a champion for all things public health, shared with me that it is best to use fresh, pasteurized eggs in this recipe. Click here for a store locator where you can find the type she recommends.

Tiramisu
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8-10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Impress your friends with this creamy, authentic Italian treat.
Ingredients
  • 6 FRESH, pasteurized eggs
  • ¾ cups fine sugar
  • 1 lb. mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1 large package of ladyfinger cookies
  • 1-2 Tbs. good quality cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate shavings
Instructions
  1. Carefully separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into two large bowls.
  2. In the bowl with the egg yolks, mix in the sugar, using a hand mixer until they are soft and cream-colored. Add the softened mascarpone cheese, and mix well, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl with the egg whites, add the pinch of salt, and whisk using a mixer until firm peaks are formed. Gently fold the egg whites unto the egg yolk mixture until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Spread a light layer of the egg mixture on the bottom of a 9x11-inch dish. Individually dunk ladyfingers in the coffee, and layer over the egg mixture. Add another layer of egg mixture, and top with coffee-dunked ladyfingers. Continue layering until ingredients run out.
  5. Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift the cocoa powder over top layer.
  6. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours.
Notes
Find your local purveyor of fresh, pasteurized eggs here: http://www.safeeggs.com/store-locator

 

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