Guava and Cheese Pasteles

Pastry chef Paola Velez uses homemade puff pastry to make these sweet, tangy pastries—which you may also find called pastelitos, pastelillos, or turnovers—stuffed with cream cheese and guava paste, a classic flavor pairing. Making the pastry does take some time but it's a straightforward process and well-worth it (and you can use store-bought puff pastry instead if you'd like). The resulting pasteles are creamy and crispy, buttery, and perfectly delicious.

Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
8 hrs


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) butter, softened 

  • 2 ¼ cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons  kosher salt

  • ¾ cup water

  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash

  • 8 tablespoons whipped cream cheese

  • 8 tablespoons guava paste

  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling, optional


  1. Place butter on a 9x13-inch sheet of parchment paper and top with another sheet of parchment. Roll or press butter into a rectangle about 12 by 6 inches. Place parchment-covered butter on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, stir flour, salt, and water in a medium bowl until it forms a smooth ball, or mix in stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add a few drops of water to bring the dough together if needed, or a dusting of flour if dough is too sticky; it will vary depending on the humidity among other factors. Cover bowl and let dough rest for 15 minutes.

  3. Roll dough into a 12x6-inch rectangle on a lightly floured work surface. Remove parchment paper from butter and arrange butter in center of dough so the short side of the butter meets the edges of the short side of the dough. Fold flaps of dough over butter; pinch edges or smack with a rolling pin to seal butter completely. Gently roll dough lengthwise to 12 inches long. Fold dough into thirds, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate. Repeat process of rolling, folding, and refrigerating 5 more times, rolling out dough smooth-side up. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

  4. Roll dough to a 12x12-inch rectangle, trimming edges if needed. Cut into 4 strips, each measuring about 3 inches across. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 equal pieces to make sixteen 3x3-inch squares. Refrigerate dough squares until ready to use. Brush edges of 8 squares with egg wash. Place 1 tablespoon cream cheese and 1 tablespoon guava paste in center of each square. Top with remaining pastry squares and press edges together. Using tines of a fork, press edges firmly to seal. (If fork sticks to pastry, dip tines in flour.) Using a small sharp knife, cut an X on top of each pastry. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing evenly apart, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Cover and refrigerate egg wash.

  5. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar, if using. Bake pastries until puffed, crispy, and golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Let cool about 30 minutes before eating.

    Guava and Cheese Hand Pies
    Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Ali Ramee / Prop Styling by Christine Keely


You can purchase puff pastry if needed; check with a local bakery to see if they will sell you some, or find it in your grocery store freezer.

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