Guava and cheese strudels, or pastelitos de guayaba y queso, are super flaky, buttery, and packed with tangy fruit flavor. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to have a taste of heaven, otherwise known as Cuban guava and cheese strudels from Porto’s Bakery in Socal, then you know how addictive these pastries can get.
I’ve seen many posts online using premade guava paste and wanted to make my own guava jam from scratch instead. This recipe gives you a homemade version where you can make your own guava paste and shortcut pastry puff dough–you won’t have to wait in a long line to eat them!
Pastelitos de guayaba y queso are traditionally Cuban puff pastries that are made with a guava paste and cheese filling. This is one of the most famous pastelitos, or “small pastries,” and for good reason–they’re delicious. Historically speaking, pastelitos have various origin stories that include Cuban households inventing the small pastries for appetizers during meals, or even slaves working the sugar mills.
Guava seeds originated from Central America and Mexico and were thought to be spread by birds (or more likely colonialism) to Cuba and eventually to Florida. Guava and cheese pastries’ popularity in Miami dates back to Cuban migration to Miami in the 20th century. Now thanks to places like Porto’s Bakery, we can enjoy them all over the world.
The guava paste / jam
After eating years worth of guava and cheese pastries (and waiting in many many lines at Porto’s), I had an abundance of pink guavas from my tree and wanted to make some homemade guava jam for some fresh pastelitos.
If you don’t have time to make homemade guava jam or can’t find guava at the grocery store, you can also buy guava jam at the grocery store. I like using Hawaiian Sun guava jam as a backup. (I was able to purchase this at my local Filipino grocery store).
The cheese filling
When I first heard about guava and cheese pastries, I was a little confused since I often associated cheese with savory dishes. I quickly remembered I love a good cheesecake and this is where I started my cheese filling recipe.
Many recipes call for just plain cream cheese in these pastries, but I wanted a creamier texture. I used a recipe similar to a cheesecake filling to get a creamier flavor using eggs, sugar, and salt. It gives you a subtle and tangy cheese flavor with sweetness from the sugar.
The puff pastry
This recipe will teach you how to make an easy shortcut for puff pastry that’s the same one I used for my egg tart recipe. You still get a homemade puff pastry without laminating, folding, and rolling for hours.
Alternatively, you can also buy premade pastry puff dough from your local grocery store, just make sure to defrost on the counter before making your pastries so you don’t crack the dough. I’ve used pepperidge farm premade dough for my pâté chaud recipe.
- Save the seeds and centers! Guava often has large centers filled with seeds, but juicy fruit. You can scoop out the seeds and soak them in water and strain it to get the max amount of flavor and fruit.
- Keep your dough cool in the fridge before beginning to roll it out and assemble your pastries. You want to prevent the butter from melting before you begin baking. During the baking process the butter will melt and help create flakey layers and puff up the pastry. If the butter melts during rolling out and assembly, your dough will end a bit too dense after baking.
- Sprinkle turbinado sugar for extra texture. I like sprinkling some turbinado sugar on top of the pastries after my egg wash. Its large crystals add some great texture.
This recipe makes about 12 medium sized strudels or be extra like me and make 6 HUGE pastries. Either way, it’s fun to try and design different ways to score the top piece of pastry puff.
Guava and cheese strudels are best eaten fresh from the oven, but you can also keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, you can toast them in the oven for a few minutes to warm them up and get the crust crispy again.
Guava & Cheese Strudel (Pastelitos De Guayaba Y Queso)
- 1 ½ lb (680.4 g) pink guava
- 4 oz (1/2 c) water
- 250 g (1.5 c) white granulated sugar
Puff pastry from scratch (or buy frozen)
- 420 g (3 c) all purpose flour
- 16 g (2 tbsp) powdered sugar
- 6 g (1 tsp) salt
- 400 g (28 tbsp) cold unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8 oz sour cream
Cream cheese filling
- 5 oz cream cheese chilled from the fridge
- 25 g (2 tbsp) sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 g (1/8 tsp) salt
- 1 beaten egg for egg wash
- turbinado sugar optional
- Clean the guava under running water. Cut the stems off and cut the guava in half.
- Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and put the seeds into a bowl with the water. Chop the guava flesh into quarters and put into a blender. Repeat until all guava is prepped. The guava flesh should measure to be around one pound at this point.
- Strain the seeds and water over a glass bowl and use a spatula or your hands to push the excess guava flesh through the strainer. This may be a bit slimy. You should end up with around ¾ cup of guava liquid if you started with 1.5 lb guava.
- Pour the water and guava liquid into the blender with the chopped guava and blend until the guava is puréed completely.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the pureed guava and sugar. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate the sugar completely. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium and simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes or until the guava mixture has reduced by about half. If you find the simmer is too strong, you can lower the heat to medium-low. The final consistency should be similar to a thin pudding. Remove it from the heat and let cool in the pot. The final consistency will be thicker as it cools (see photo).
Puff pastry from scratch (or buy frozen)
- In a food processor, add the flour, powdered sugar, salt, and butter. Pulse a few times until the butter is the size of peas.
- Transfer to a large bowl and add the sour cream and stir gently so that the sour cream is incorporated. I like to use my hands towards the end so that I know the butter doesn’t crumble too much. The dough should begin to take on a shaggy texture.
- Transfer the shaggy dough onto a parchment sheet and form the dough into a ball. To make the dough easier to work with, cut the dough in half.
- Take another parchment sheet and lay it on top of each ball of dough and then roll out your dough into a rectangle that’s 12 x 7 inches with about ¼-½ inch thickness. Repeat with the other half of dough. NOTE: if at any time you find the dough becoming too soft or warm, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to cool down.
- Unwrap the top layer of parchment and make a tri-fold by taking the right side of the dough and folding it ⅓ of the way to the center. Then, take the left side and fold over the first fold. You should end up with a smaller rectangle. Cover the dough with the parchment paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Chill the dough pieces in the freezer for 15 minutes. Don’t leave them in the freezer for too long or it will freeze and become too hard.
- Once chilled and slightly hard, roll out the dough pieces again to a larger rectangle that measures around 12 x 7 inches again and make a tri-fold one more time. Then chill in the freezer for 15 minutes before making your pastries.
Cream cheese filling
- Whisk the fridge temp cream cheese, salt, and sugar together in a medium sized bowl. Then mix in the egg. Try not to overmix the cream cheese or it will become too liquidy. If the mixture becomes too soft, you can pop it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden it.
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
- Roll out each of the dough pieces into a long rectangle of about 14 by 10 inches with a thickness of ¼ inch. Divide each of the rectangles into 6 pieces (if you want large strudels) or 12 pieces (if you want medium sized strudels). Place half of these rectangles in a parchment paper lined sheet pan with at least one inch space between them.
- In a small bowl, beat one egg. Brush the egg wash on the edges of half of the rectangles (the bottom halves of your pastries), about ¼” thick around the perimeter.
- Spread the cheese filling in the center of the egg-washed rectangles.
- Add guava jam on top, both spread evenly close to but not touching the egg wash.
- For the untouched rectangles, these are the pastry tops. Cut 2-3 slits in the center for venting and added design. Then carefully take one of these rectangles and place it on top of a filled guava and cheese piece. Carefully press the edges and seal them using a fork.
- Brush more egg wash on top. Optional: sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top for extra texture. Repeat with the rest of the strudels.
- Place the sheet pan and strudels in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. I would recommend checking the pastries at 15 minutes to check on them. Remove from the oven when they are puffy and golden brown at the edges and top.
- Place them on a cooling rack for about five minutes so you don’t burn yourself while eating. Serve them immediately or move them into the fridge and they will last for at least 3-5 days.