A True Culinary Adventure: Guava and Cheese Pastry

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!

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*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.

 

Brunch amongst friends: Quick and Easy Frittata

frittata.TheCubanReuben.com I love the holidays for many reasons, but mostly because, for me, this season means lots and lots of visitors. This past weekend, my friend and editor of The Nosher, Shannon, came to visit. When she asked me what we could do that was fun and food-related, I suggested that there were few things more fun and food-related to me than cooking with friends! So, we made a date for brunch, and planned what we’d cook together.

I knew the main event would be our cooking adventures, but we would need some nourishment to get our creative juices flowing. Not wanting to stress too much about what to make, I decided to peruse my fridge for inspiration. Cue the frittata.

Frittatas are a fantastic breakfast/brunch food, because they take very little effort, can help you use up some of your leftovers, and easily impress. While many frittatas call for diced potatoes, I decided to use up some of my leftover potato latkes as my main filling. Leftover baked potatoes work great in here, too. After rummaging through my vegetable crisper that seemed filled to the brim with different types of lettuce, I found the crowning jewel of this dish in some cherry tomatoes. I was looking for an ingredient that offered both visual stimulation, as well as a taste boost, and loved the way that the cherry tomatoes contrasted with the yellow of the egg. Of course, no frittata is complete without fresh herbs, so I chopped up a bit of Italian Parsley, and called it a day.

Served alongside fresh fruit and some authentic Cuban-style cafe con leche, this was the perfect start to the “fun and food-related” day ahead.

Quick and Easy Frittata
 
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 8-10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Use up your leftovers in this easy brunch favorite!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cooked russet potato, diced (can be a baked potato, but I used leftover latkes)
  • 10 large eggs
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • ¼ grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 Tbs. chopped Italian Parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large oven-safe skillet, add butter and olive oil, and warm over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, and saute until light brown (about 5-7 minutes). Add the potatoes, and stir gently to fully incorporate. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and half and half until well-combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in parmesan cheese, and pour over onion and potato mixture in skillet.
  5. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until edges set.
  6. Add tomatoes, cut-side down, and bake frittata in oven until it sets completely (about 10 minutes).
  7. Remove from oven, and let rest for 2 minutes before unmolding from skillet and slicing.
  8. Can be served hot or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is easily adaptable and can include almost any filling you want. Feel free to experiment with last night's leftovers, and see for yourself!