Guava and Manchego cheese pastry bites are bite-sized pastry pouches bursting with melty cheese and sweet-tart guava paste. You can use any jam and cheese combination you like best! These adorable appetizers can be assembled ahead of time, so you don’t have to stress before your guests arrive – just pop them in the oven right before serving!
Today is my blog’s first birthday!! I do have some posts dated before August 2, 2015, but I launched the site on that day so it’s now been public for a full year. I can’t believe my little baby blog is turning one already. They grow up so fast! *sniff*
The blog-birthday party will be going on all week, with a total of three Brazilian-inspired appetizer recipes you can make and serve at your next shindig, or just if you’re feeling fancy! Today’s recipe uses guava paste, which has a sliceable jelly-like consistency.
These adorable little bite-sized pastry pouches are filled with sweet-tart guava paste and melty Manchego cheese. It’s like a cheese board in a bite!
If you can’t find guava paste in your grocery store, you can substitute with your favorite jam-and-cheese combo. Yum!
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reinventing ways to consume fruit preserves and cheese. Because spreading cheese and jam on bread is delicious, but can get boring after a while if you love the combo as much as I do.
My Fig, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Pizza was like a cheese board on a pizza, and my next recipe (spoiler!) is another bite-sized interpretation of a cheese board.
My favorite part about these guava and Manchego cheese pastry bites is that you can make and assemble them ahead of time, and all you have to do is pop them in the oven right before serving! They’re best fresh out of the oven so the cheese is melty.
So, this is a small-batch recipe: it makes 20 little appetizer bites so you can easily pick a few different appetizers for a small gathering. If you want more, just double the recipe: no biggie!
You start off with a homemade cheesy pastry dough – basically just like pie crust, with a little parmesan cheese and a couple spices added. Mmmm.
I was afraid the added flavors in the dough would compete with the guava-and-cheese flavor combo, but it was just perfect! It just adds a little extra depth to the crust but isn’t overpowering by any means.
The pastry recipe is from my favorite little appetizer book, Just a Bite (affiliate link) – full of cute and fancy small-batch appetizers. The book is as old as I am and is out of print, but it’s a must-have if you love entertaining.
I’ve made a few pie crusts before, with varying degrees of success and frustration, and one thing I have learned is just to get in there with your hands.
The first basic step in a butter-based pie crust is to “cut in” cold butter with your flour until the mixture resembles damp sand with some pea-sized pieces. People do it with a fork, or a pastry cutter/pastry blender, or even a food processor (which I’m sure is easy and comes out perfectly, but it’s another appliance to haul out and wash, so I haven’t attempted that method).
But the quickest and least frustrating method I’ve tried is just to cut in the butter using your hands — specifically, your fingertips. Your palms are okay now and then but you do want to keep the butter as cold as possible throughout the process, which is why they have fancy tools for cutting in butter.
Your fingertips have less heat in them than your palms, so try to use mostly your fingers or the butter may get too warm.
My pastry came out pretty well though and cutting in the butter using my (freshly-washed) hands saved all my frustration of constantly picking out chunks of butter stuck in my pastry cutter to reincorporate it into the dough, and saved the time of doing it with a fork.
I figure the time saved using my hands makes up for the extra heat from my fingertips for butter-melting purposes, since it doesn’t have as much time to soften either.
Anyhoo. The important thing is, after you cut in the butter (and in this case, add the parmesan and spices), that you don’t overmix the dough once you add your egg and water. It will get tough and hard to roll out and just a giant pain in the you-know-what.
Mix in just enough liquid so the dough doesn’t crumble and crack any more – a little cracking is fine when you roll out the dough if it mostly holds together.
You can spritz a little water on top if you need to, but sometimes just a little time of resting in the fridge is all it needs. I guess the gluten relaxes a bit once it gets to hang with its fellow ingredients for a little while.
You roll it out thinly and cut 3-inch squares of pastry to encase each of the guava and Manchego cheese pastry bites. You should be able to get about 20 squares at that size – if not, roll thinner!
Don’t do like I did and cut them out first, realize you only ended up with 9, and then roll them thinner. Because once I kneaded together all my scraps from rolling and recutting, the dough was too tough and I had to make another half-batch of pastry dough to get the other 11 squares. Annoying!
After that, the hardest part is over. This part’s fun! You just put a little slice of guava (or a small dollop of your favorite jam) in the middle, top with a cheese cube, brush the edges of each pastry with some beaten egg, and fold up the edges into a little satchel.
I folded the four corners in first, and then squished in the four new corners. Hard to describe, but easier to see in the photo below.
They are SO CUTE when they’re assembled. Just look at them!!
At this point, you can stick them in the fridge for up to a few days before you bake them, or you can pop them in the oven right away.
It’s so convenient if you’re entertaining to have a whole appetizer ready to put in the oven in advance, so you’re not running around stressing out and covered in flour before people arrive!
Brush with a little beaten egg before baking to give them a little gloss (I’ve made them with and without, and without tastes fine but looks a little dull) and serve immediately out of the oven for the best melty-cheese experience.
They’re so tiny and cute! Awwwhhh, don’t you just want to eat it up? Good!
So whip up a little batch of these cuties, stick them in the fridge if you want, and party at your place this weekend!! Amirite??
Guava and Manchego Cheese Pastry Bites
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- pinch of dried mustard
- 1/2 egg beaten
- 1 tbsp ice water slightly more if necessary
- Guava paste (Goiabada)
- Manchego cheese
- 1/2 egg beaten, for brushing on
- Put flour in a medium mixing bowl and add butter. Cut in using a fork, pastry cutter, or your fingertips, until mixture resembles damp sand. A few larger pea-sized pieces are okay.
- Add Parmesan cheese, cayenne, and mustard and combine.
- Add half a beaten egg and 1 tbsp ice water and mix with a wooden spoon. If dough will not hold together and crumbles, add a little more water 1 tsp at a time until it holds together.
- Knead gently, then flatten into a disk.
- You can refrigerate or freeze the dough at this point to use later, or keep going.
- Roll out dough very thinly and cut out 20 three-inch squares.
- Top each square with a thin 1-inch square slice of guava paste or small dollop of your favorite jam and a cube of Manchego cheese. Brush the edges with beaten egg and fold in the corners to form a sealed pouch. (Make sure it is sealed or the cheese will melt out during baking)
- You can refrigerate the assembled pastry bites for several days at this point before baking, or keep going.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the pastry bites with the rest of the beaten egg, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.