These treats hail from Puerto Rico and Cuba. Light, crisp puff pastry filled with sweet cream cheese and guava
[Substituting autumn olive jam for the guava paste makes an interesting variant. Pastelitos de Aceituna de Otoño con Queso? Raspberry jam also works.]
, surprisingly easy to make.

  • 8 ounces
    [8 ounces cream cheese will make more filling than you’ll need, but less than that is tricky for my mixer to get a grip on; adjust this (and the sugar) as you see fit.]
    cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • a pinch of salt

  • 4 ounces guava paste

  • all-purpose flour, for flouring work surface

  • 1 package store-bought puff pastry
    [Puff Pastry: If you can, use pastry made with butter rather than shortening. I use Dufour’s or Trader Joe’s. Store it in the freezer but defrost it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before using.]

  • 1 egg, beaten with a little water (egg wash)

  • turbinado sugar or confectioner’s sugar (optional

  1. Defrost the puff pastry in the refrigerator 2-3 hours before using.

  2. In the mixer, whip the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth.

  3. Preheat oven to 400°F–425°F
    [400°F works best for Trader Joe’s pastry, 425°F for Dufour’s.]
    . Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

  4. Dust your work surface evenly with flour so the puff pastry dough won’t stick. Unfold the dough and carefully roll it out a bit so it’s a nice rectangle of uniform thickness, not too thin. Cut the dough into 12 equal rectangles
    [A pizza cutter works well for this.]

  5. Brush the edges of each rectangle with the egg wash in preparation for folding them over.

  6. Drop a rounded teaspoon or so of cream cheese onto one half of each rectangle. Top it with an equal amount of guava paste or jam.

  7. Fold each rectangle over into a square, pressing the edges together to seal in the filling.

  8. Move the squares onto the baking sheet and into the freezer for about 10 minutes.

  9. Transfer the parchment and pastelitos to a baking sheet that isn’t at freezer temperature.

  10. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (entirely optional; another option is to dust them with confectioner’s sugar after they cool).

  11. Bake for about 20 minutes, check and bake for additional 2-minute increments until brown.

  12. Remove from the oven and cool at least 10 minutes (beware boiling-hot filling!).


When we moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, we discovered a whole new cuisine thanks to our large Puerto Rican population. I tasted these at the Old San Juan Bakery, then found I can buy all the guava paste I want at my local supermarket, and vowed I would learn to make them myself.

This recipe is essentially Adrianna Adarme’s from her website A Cozy Kitchen. I substitute puff pastry made with butter rather than shortening (still store-bought) and cover each square by folding a rectangle in half rather than placing another square on it. I tend to put in a bit more filling than I should, so they might leak some goodness out onto the parchment. But the credit goes to Adrianna.