Guava Pinwheels and Turnovers

 

A Little History

After I graduated from college, I was offered a teaching job at Antilles High School on Fort Buchanan in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I lived in Puerto Rico for two years and while there I was introduced to a wonderful tropical fruit known as guava. While I was living there, I occasionally stopped at a small ice cream shop on my way home from school to treat myself to some ice cream. My favorite ice cream flavor was guava – pink, pretty and so delicious! If I had to compare it to any other fruit I would say it’s a little bit like a strawberry in flavor, but it really has a unique flavor all its own.

Recently I was looking through one of my cookbooks (as all good foodies do!) and I noticed a recipe for Guava Pinwheels using only two ingredients – puff pastry and guava paste. The recipe was in the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, published in 1997.  It sounded good to me so I was off to the store to buy some guava paste. Goya is a big name in Latin American food distributors so I looked for Goya Guava Paste. I found it in the international section of a local grocery store with all the Hispanic food.

About Guava and Guava Paste


Guava is a common tropical fruit cultivated and enjoyed in many tropical and subtropical regions. The most frequently eaten species is the apple guava. An interesting fact about guavas is that they do not require excessive use of chemical pesticides. Guavas are one of the least chemically treated and sprayed fruits. They can be grown from seeds in a pot indoors and will bear fruit as soon as they are 2 years old and for as long as 40 years. Guavas contain a high level of pectin – the substance that makes jams and jellies “jell” – so guavas are often used in jellies, jams and in guava paste. Guavas are high in fiber and vitamin C – four times the vitamin C of an orange!

Guava Paste is a thick puree of guava and sugar which is very popular in the Caribbean and Spain.  In Mexico guava paste is commonly paired with cheese and eaten with crackers. Guava paste can be combined with a small amount of water and melted down in a saucepan to form a glaze, which presents some interesting possibilities. It is frequently used in pastries for breakfast or dessert.  Guava paste is sold in short, wide cans or in plastic packaging.

Guava Pinwheels

Guava Pinwheels are made of two ingredients, puff pastry and guava paste. Puff pastry is purchased frozen so the first step in preparing this recipe is to thaw the puff pastry, which can take from 20-40 minutes. The guava paste is placed evenly over the puff pastry sheet, after it has been unfolded. I was not able to “spread” the guava paste, even though it was at room temperature as recommended, so I cut thin slices of the guava paste and placed the slices on top of the pastry sheet.

The two long edges are rolled inward to meet the middle; then a small amount of water is used to dampen the pastry between the two rolls and gently press them together along the seam.

Using a sharp knife, cut slices from the joined rolls. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400°F.

Using a spatula, transfer the pinwheels to a place to cool. Be careful, the paste turns into a hot liquid!

Guava Pinwheels
Yields 8
A wonderful pastry for breakfast or dessert made from 2 ingredients - puff pastry and guava paste.
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 8-oz. sheet commercially prepared puff pastry, defrosted
  2. 1/2 cup guava paste (4 oz.)
Instructions
  1. Working gently but quickly, unfold the puff pastry sheet. Spread the guava paste evenly on the pastry sheet.
  2. Curl the two longer edges up and roll them inward like jelly rolls to meet in the middle.
  3. Dip your fingers in water and lightly dampen the pastry between the two rolls; then gently but firmly press the two rolls together along the seam.
  4. Using a sharp, thin knife, cut the joined rolls crosswise into 1/2" thick slices.
  5. Arrange the slice cut side down on the unoiled baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastries are puffed and golden.
  6. Using a spatula, transfer the pinwheels to a place to cool.
Notes
  1. Guava paste is an intensely flavored concoction, denser and more flavorful than jam or jelly.
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Guava Turnovers

After reading about cream cheese and guava paste being combined in turnovers, I made some without really using a recipe. I thawed a sheet of puff pastry, cut it into squares, put some cream cheese and guava paste on it, folded it over and used a fork to press the edges together.

The Guava Turnovers were baked at 400°F. for about 15 minutes.

I did not add icing to the Guava Turnovers but there is a recipe on the Food Network by Daisy Martinez for Guava Cheese Turnovers to which she adds confectioner’s sugar icing. Click here if you would like to view her recipe.

Guava Nectar is available in the Hispanic section of the grocery store also. It’s a flavorful and soothing drink.

I’ve heard that you can even use guava paste in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, substituting the guava paste for the jelly portion!

I’m going to use my remaining guava paste in muffins to see how that works out.  It should melt in the middle of the muffin if I put some batter in the tin, then 1/2 teaspoon or so of guava paste, and top it with more muffin batter. I look forward to trying that!

Remember to Savor the Flavor of a Brand New Year!

 Janet

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Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks

A Brief Background

For many years my mother enjoyed and collected Southern Living magazines and their annual cookbooks. One year when I was home for Christmas, Mom and I decided to try  a recipe for Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks, found in Christmas with Southern Living 1998. We really liked this casserole, which is great any time but especially at Christmas with the green leeks and red bell peppers displaying some traditional Christmas color in this dish. Cheddar cheese and half ‘n half add to the richness of this wonderful potato side dish.

Leeks – The Basics

Leeks are vegetables related to onions, garlic, shallots and chives, but with a sweet, delicate and subtle flavor. They have a thick, white stalk that’s cylindrical in shape and has a slightly bulbous root end. The broad, flat, dark green leaves wrap tightly around each other. Leeks are an excellent source of Vitamin K and Vitamin A. 

Buy leeks that have firm, unblemished white lower parts, and bright green leaves with a crisp texture. Smaller leeks tend to be sweeter and more tender. Store them wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to a week. Leeks are available year round but are best from September to March. 


To prepare leeks for use, first wash them thoroughly. I submerge leeks in a sink full of water and swish them back and forth to remove any sand, dirt or grit that can collect between the layers. 

Trim off the base, or root end and cut away the uppermost part of the leaves. Slice the leeks starting at the end that was just cut off, and continue up until the leaves are reached. Discard the leaves. 

Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks – The Recipe

Allow 75 minutes of baking time for Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks plus some prep time. The leeks are washed and sliced. The red bell pepper is chopped, and the new potatoes are sliced. A sauce is made with butter, flour and half ‘n half, seasoned with Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Sauce (1/2 cup) is spooned into an 11″ x 7″ x 1 1/2″ baking dish, followed by a layer of potato slices, leeks & red pepper, and cheddar cheese; then the layers are repeated. The casserole is baked for 50 minutes, covered, then uncovered and baked for 25 minutes more or until potato slices are tender. 

Here’s the printable recipe:

Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks
Serves 8
A scrumptious casserole made with new potatoes, leeks and red pepper in a cream sauce with cheddar cheese.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 2 cups half 'n half
  4. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  5. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  7. 2 tablespoons butter
  8. 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
  9. 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  10. 5 cups thinly sliced new potatoes
  11. 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth.
  2. Cook with constant stirring for 1 minute. Gradually stir in half 'n half and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add leeks and chopped red pepper.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly until tender.
  6. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce into a greased 11" x 7" x 1 1/2" baking dish.
  7. Layer with half each of potato slices, leek mixture, sauce and Cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.
  8. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes.
  9. Uncover and bake 25 minutes more or until potato slices are tender.
  10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with red pepper strips.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Other Interesting Facts About Leeks

*Nero supposedly believed leeks would improve his singing voice and is said to have eaten prodigious quantities to that end.

*The Romans were said to have introduced leeks to the UK.

*In the 6th Century Wales made leeks their national symbol because they were convinced that the leeks they wore on their helmets to distinguish them from their enemies strengthened them and helped them win wars.

*Two of the world’s famous soups are based around leeks: Cock-a-leekie Soup in Scotland and Creme Vicchyssoise in France.

Try this scrumptious recipe for Scalloped New Potatoes and Leeks soon!

Remember to Savor the Flavor of the New Year!

Janet

**If you’d like to receive future posts from Silver Foodie automatically, Click Here and complete the form that appears!

For a complete list of Link Parties in which I participate, check out “Link Parties” in the header menu on my Home Page.

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