Mango and Cheese Pastries (Pastelitos)

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This is my third Mango Season working in a place that affords me access to a large supply of mangoes during this time of the year in Miami.  I had been racking my brain for ideas on what to make with mango that I had never made before, and my brain reserves were getting low.  Then, during a conversation with one of my sisters, she asks “Why not make mango pastelitos?”  Mango pastries!?  My head exploded.

For those of you that are not “in the know,” a pastelito is a Cuban pastry that is typically made with puff-pastry type of dough and can be filled with sweet or savory fillings.  Pretty much any Latin bakery or cafeteria worth its salt in South Florida will sell them, so it’s completely mind-boggling as to why it never even occurred to me to try a mango spin on these popular treats.  The most popular fillings are guava, guava and cheese, cheese, and ground beef.  My absolute favorite is the guava and cheese, which is the one that inspired this recipe.  Since guava is super-sweet, just like mango, it seemed to make sense to just swap out the guava with mango.  It sounded crazy at first, but it WORKED.  The sweetness of the mango was offset by the cream cheese, which also gave a creamy richness to complement the buttery flakiness of the puff pastry.  Best of all, they’re super-easy to make.

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Start by cooking some diced mango with brown sugar and a little bit of lemon juice.  Simmer the mango mixture for 25-30 minutes, until the liquid thickens and becomes syrupy in consistency.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.  You can even make this a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use.

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After that, the only other things you need are some puff pastry and a brick of cream cheese.  Make your life easier by using cold cream cheese.

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Defrost the puff pastry per the package directions.  Lay the sheets of puff pastry out on your pan lined with parchment, a baking mat, or a floured surface.  Cut each sheet it into thirds, then add three small pieces of cream cheese evenly spaced apart on 3 of the thirds.  Leave room around the sides to close the pastry.

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Add a spoonful of mango filling on top of each piece of cream cheese.  If you didn’t cook your mango filling long enough, you might get some runoff.  Don’t worry, it won’t impact the pastries much.  Brush the edges and between the filling with egg wash or water.

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Place the other three pieces of puff pastry over the ones that have the filling.

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Cut them into squares and pinch them closed.  The egg wash should help the tops and bottoms stick together.  Brush them with additional egg wash or simple syrup, if desired.

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Then, into a preheated oven they go!

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Please resist the urge to dig in as soon as they come out of the oven.  The filling is HOT, and you might hurt yourself.  They do taste best when they are warm, though.

mango pastries

Simple, right?  But, so delicious.  These pastries just scream “Miami” in so many ways.  The recipe for the mango filling makes enough to fill about 27 pastries, so scale up or down accordingly.  You can easily find other uses for any leftover filling, but I bet you’ll simply wind up making more pastries once these disappear in mere moments.  I bet it would be great on pancakes or waffles, too.

Mango and Cheese Pastries (Pastelitos de Mango y Queso)

Ingredients

For the Mango Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups mango, diced small
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

For the pastries:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 4oz cream cheese, cold
  • Egg wash (optional)

Directions

Make the mango filling:

In a small saucepan, heat mango, brown sugar, and lemon juice over medium to medium-high heat until mixture is about to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before using.

Make the pastries:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay out the puff pastry sheets on a flat, nonstick surface and cut each sheet into thirds.  Set three of the thirds aside.

Cut small rectangles of cream cheese and add three to each third of puff pastry sheet, spacing them out evenly on the strip and leaving room around the edges of the dough.  Add a spoonful of mango on top of each piece of cream cheese.

Brush the edges of dough and between each mound of filling with egg wash or water, then top with the remaining 3 sheets of puff pastry dough.  Cut each strip into thirds so that one mound of filling is at the center of each square, then pinch the sides down to seal.  Place the squares on the baking sheet lined with parchment, leaving space between the pastries.  Brush the tops with additional egg wash or simple syrup.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 20 minutes before eating.  Any leftover mango pastries can be stored in an airtight container after they cool completely.

Makes 9 pastries

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