Cuban Pastelitos recipe - How to Make Baked Turnover Pastries
One of my favorite recipes! This comes from
my friend and cookbook author
Martinez, and the comments below are hers. Pastelitos
are not that hard to make, but you can also buy them online from the
Cuban Food Market.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
The word "pastel" means pie in Spanish. Pastelitos is the
diminutive and it usually means the small round or triangular
pastries with fillings.
Usually pastelitos are made with delicate,
flaky puff pastry, but other dough can be used. I prefer the puff
Puff pastry is very time consuming, though not hard to do. I don't
make my own much any more as it needs cooler temperatures and a
drier climate than where I live [Hawaii]; so instead, I have come to
rely on store-bought sheets of puff pastry.
Pepperidge Farm puff
pastry comes two sheets to a package and I use this for small
quantities. If we are doing a catering job or for large gatherings I
buy the commercial sheets from my food wholesaler. Yields 18 pastelitos
1 box Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
Filling for pastelitos (your choice picadillo,
fruit, cream cheese, etc)
To Shape The Pastelitos:
When using Pepperidge Farm:
1. Take the sheets of puff pastry and smooth out the folds a little
bit (do not oversmooth it).
2. With a very sharp knife, make cuts across the sheets, as if you
were drawing the lines for playing tic-tac-toe. You will have 9
squares per sheet.
3. Place filling (about a teaspoon full) in the middle of the
4. Fold down from top corner to lower corner to enclose the filling
and form a triangle.
5. Press all around the two open edges with a fork to seal tightly.
6. Place pastries on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, not too close
so that they can puff up without touching the next one.
7. Brush the tops with a simple syrup (sugar water: same amount sugar
as water) using a pastry brush.
8. Place in 350 degree F oven on the middle rack. Takes about 20-30
minutes to puff up and turn golden and flaky (depends on your oven
and altitude, so keep a close eye on the first batch to test your
NOTE: The less you handle the sheets of pastry the more it will puff
Almost anything can be used as a filling. The traditional filings
are small dabs of guava marmalade and cream cheese,
style meat fillings, or a sweetened cream cheese filling.
Other fillings I have used successfully:
Mango pieces cooked in sugar to form a marmalade.
Apple pie filling (I like the Comstock brand). Add a small dusting
of cinnamon after you brush tops with the sugar water.
Cherry pie filling (same brand as above)
Picadillo style ground beef.
Cream cheese and fresh herbs such as basil or thyme. You need to
taste your batch as you add the herbs to the cream cheese to make
sure the taste comes through.
Cream cheese and ground up potted meats such as
Devil's Ham or Chicken. Once, in a pinch, I even used Spam ground up
in the cream cheese. It worked, they were good!
Notes on Making Pastelitos
I usually follow Sonia's above instructions exactly, but I
also have a few things to add. The first is that there are slight differences
between the pastries you would find at a Cuban bakery, and those made using this recipe. Bakery
pastelitos are usually larger, to make room for more filling. They are also a bit heavier, and
the pastry dough is made with butter.
Sometimes pastelitos are sold in square shapes (not triangles). Other times they are
often baked as an entire sheet, then cut into triangles like Greek baklava. The
above recipe is for a turnover-style pastry.
Because these pastelitos are made like most turnovers, some fruit filling will
usually "leak" out of the pastries as they bake. This is common, especially the
more fruit filling that you use. So don't worry if the filling pokes out, or drips
onto the baking pan. It's normal unless you go easy on the filling (and I like a
lot of filling).
Main Cuban recipe pages:
• soups •