In the Libby & Dish story “A Quick Hello,” Libby is grumpy because she and Dish are getting close to solving the mystery of what kind of pet lives downstairs, but her mother seems to be too busy to help them. The two are waiting in frustration when, later that morning, they are surprised by a visit from someone who knows the answer.
Their visitors are none other than their new human neighbors, Mr. Cortez and his son, Juan Paco. The pair have come to share a batch of Juan Paco's favorite pastry, pastelitos. And besides a delicious treat, they’ve brought giving Libby and Dish another big clue.
As Mr. Cortez says in the story, pastelitos hail from Cuba. A cousin to an empanada, they are made by enfolding sweet guava paste and cheese into fluffy pillows of puff pastry. These warm pockets of gooey goodness make a wonderful midday snack or dessert.
The puff pastry and cheese are common ingredients, of course, but the guava paste can be a bit harder to find. Try the international section of your grocery store first, and then look near the fancy cheese case. If neither place turns up any guava paste, feel free to substitute the more commonly available quince or fig paste. It won't be exactly the same, but your pastelitos will still be very tasty.
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
About 5 ounces guava paste
About ½ cup mascarpone cheese
Preheat your oven to 375° F.
Spread out one sheet of the puff pastry on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Jiggle the guava paste out of its container and use a sharp knife to cut off 8 roughly ½-inch slices. Arrange the guava paste slices on the puff pastry in two rows, equally distant from each other and from the edges of the pastry.
Next, smear a spoonful of mascarpone on top of each guava paste slice — no need to use a precise amount.
Then put the second sheet of puff pastry on top of the first and use a spoon to press down around the edges and between the slices. Once the pieces are well sealed, use a knife to gently score the pastry between each pocket.
Now whisk the egg in a bowl and use a pastry brush to bathe the pastelitos in egg wash. Use sharp scissors to snip a few vent holes in the top of each pastelito. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastelitos are golden. Enjoy warm!
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.