May 14, 2014

Guava and Cheese Pop Tarts?! YES PLEASE!

What happens when you're craving a pastelito de guayaba y queso and you're also craving a fresh, warm pop tart? You end up with guava and cheese pop tarts. The best of Cuban and American worlds. As a second generation immigrant, many times I find myself craving mom's cooking or craving some American comfort food. Either or, never both. So when rare opportunities to marry both cuisines occur, I jump at the chance.

Ingredients:
       Makes about 8 pop tarts
- 3 Cups of flour
-  1 1/2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
- 7 Tablespoons of water
- 1 14 oz. package of guava paste
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla paste (vanilla extract will work too)
- 1/4 teaspoon of lemon curd
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of water

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until dough becomes crumbly and the butter is broken down to small bits. Continue to mix and add water, one tablespoon at a time. When you are able to pinch the dough and it holds together, it's done.

Remove dough from the mixer and place on a clean, lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it forms a smooth dough. Don't over do it. You should be able to see little bits of butter through out the dough. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 flat rectangles. Wrap the rectangles in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

While the dough is cooling, get your cheese mixture ready, In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until creamy. Mix in the vanilla paste and lemon curd. Lastly, mix in the egg white of one egg. Be sure to set the egg yolk aside to use later on! Once the cheese mixture has been combined, place it in the refrigerator to harden up slightly while you roll out the dough.

Place a large piece of parchment paper down on your work surface, sprinkle some flour over the top and place an unwrapped rectangle of dough in the center. Using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle if you don't have a rolling pin #SinPena) that's been dusted with flour, roll the dough out so that your dough is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Be sure to occasionally peel the dough from the parchment paper and dust with flour to ensure it doesn't stick. The finished product should be a rectangle-ish shape that measures about 10x14 inches. The shape doesn't have to be a perfect rectangle, so don't freak out if your dough doesn't form a pristine 10 x 14 rectangle.


Guava paste over dough
Using a small (and sharp) knife, trim the dough's edges and cut the dough into 3x5 rectangles, making about 8 rectangles. Transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, leaving about an inch in-between each. Once transferred, repeat this process for the second dough rectangle and place in a second, parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Grab the guava paste and slice into small rectangles about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and about 1-1 1/2 inches long. Place one guava paste rectangle in the center each piece of dough. Pull the cream cheese mixture from the refrigerator and place 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheese in the center of the rectangle, over the guava.

Cream Cheese mixture over guava
Beat one egg in a small bowl and brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash, this will act as the glue that keeps the dough together. Gently place a dough rectangle over the filling and using a fork, lightly press all around the edges.

Covered pop tarts with pressed edges.
Once you have covered all of your pop tarts and pressed the edges with a fork, use a tooth pick to prick multiple holes on the top layer of dough. The pricked holes will act as small ventilators so air doesn't get trapped inside and the pop tarts don't bubble up. Combine the egg yolk you reserved earlier and combine it with a tablespoon of water to create an egg wash. Then, brush the the dough with the egg wash to get a nice golden color and sprinkle on some granulated sugar over the top. Place the baking sheets in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Pop tarts straight out of the oven.
Once the pop tarts are out of the oven let them cool down, TRUST ME! I learned the hard way how incredibly painful it is to bite into a freshly baked pop tart and have molten guava burn the inside of your mouth. Once cooled, place them in an air-tight container. They will keep for about 4 days and should fit easily into your toaster.



ENJOY!

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