The Beer Lover's Table: Guava and Cream Cheese Pastelitos and Makemake New Moon Rising IPA

I never realised what guava could be until I walked into a Brazilian supermarket.

Until then, I knew guava mostly as a tasting note that was semi-frequently ascribed to hazy IPAs, usually flanked by mango, papaya and passionfruit, not so much individually articulated as considered one tropical mishmash. Occasionally, I came across guava juice. If I ever saw the fruit itself at the local greengrocer, it was shrunken and small, wrinkled with age and practically aromaless.

But then, in March, I entered that grocery store in Rio de Janeiro and was overcome. What was that smell? Vivid, sweet, pungent, perfumed… I followed my nose to the tower of guavas, each of which was the size of my fist, bright green and potent enough to scent the entire shop. Now this was guava.

I had as many as I could while I was there, fresh and in desserts and caipirinhas. Knowing I wouldn’t get the same thing at home, I consoled myself with a big jar of guava jam as a souvenir. I’ve been eating it spooned into yoghurt and on toast since then, but recently I recalled another use for it: pastelitos, a staple of Cuban Miami, pastries encasing a sweet-savoury blend of guava and cream cheese.

They’re exceptionally easy to make if you’re not averse to store-bought puff pastry (and why would you be?) and you need just a few ingredients to put them together – though I did depart from tradition by sprinkling mine with roughly ground, lemony coriander seeds.

For this pairing, I thought, of course, of hazy IPA – and what better option than a thiolised IPA, amped up to be even more aromatic, tropical and punchy than usual? Makemake’s New Moon Rising IPA was just that candidate, a beautifully executed example of the style and indeed bountifully fruitful. For the first time,
I could taste the notes of guava in the beer and recognise them as such. It was a small and delicious revelation.

Guava and Cream Cheese Pastelitos
Makes 6

1 320g sheet puff pastry (defrosted if frozen)
100g cream cheese
185g guava jam, paste or preserves
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
Generous pinch flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
1-2 tablespoons coriander seeds, roughly ground (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Lightly flour a cutting board and gently unroll your sheet of puff pastry. Orient it so the short side is facing you and then, using a sharp knife, cut the sheet in half from top to bottom. Cut each half into three even sections; you should have six squares of pastry.

3. On the bottom half of each square, add a base layer of cream cheese, dividing it evenly among the six and being careful to leave a ½-inch margin around the edges. Next, top with the guava jam.

4. Make an egg wash: In a small bowl, beat your egg, the milk and salt until uniform. Using a pastry brush, dab egg wash around all four edges of each pastry square. Gently fold the top half of each square over the filling and use a fork to crimp the edges until well-sealed; handle gently to avoid the filling spilling out.

5. Carefully transfer the pastelitos to your prepared baking sheet, leaving an inch or two between them. Using a sharp knife, cut two incisions into the top of each pastelito and brush their tops with egg wash. If using the coriander, grind it roughly with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and sprinkle over the pastelitos.

6. Bake for roughly 30-40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until the pastries are fully risen and deep golden and the filling is bubbling. If they’re getting too dark, tent with foil as they bake.

 7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Eat while still warm, if you can.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beer hound and all-around lover of tasty things. You can follow her at @clairembullen. For more recipes like this, sign up to our HB&B All Killer No Filler beer subscription - you'll receive Claire's recipe and food pairings, plus expert tasting notes, with 10 world-class beers like this one every month.