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Guava Cheese Puffs

Guava cheese puffs, delicious fruit- and cheese-filled tarts, really show the Mexican kitchen’s knack for combining sweet and salty. You can find guava paste in the jam and jelly section or the ethnic section of the supermarket.

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 2 1/2 hours chilling

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated añejo cheese

2 pieces puff pastry, 1/2 pound each

1 egg

3/4 cup guava paste

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice or 3/4 cup other fruit jam or puree

1 tablespoon heavy cream

  1. Combine the cream cheese and añejo cheese in a bowl, mixing well with a spoon.

  2. Cut each puff pastry into a 12-inch circle.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  4. Place 1 puff pastry circle on the baking sheet.

  5. Crack the egg into a bowl and lightly beat it with a whisk or fork.

  6. Brush a 1-inch rim around the outside edge of the puff pastry with the beaten egg.

  7. Pat the cheese mixture into an 8-inch circle in the center of the pastry.

  8. Mix the guava paste with the lime juice or jam.

  9. Spread the guava mixture evenly over the top of the cheese.

  10. Fold the remaining piece of puff pastry in half.

  11. Place it over the first piece, edge-to-edge.

  12. Unfold the pastry to enclose the filling.

  13. Chill for 30 minutes, or until thoroughly cold.

  14. Firmly press the edges of pastry together with the tines of a fork to seal.

    Work about 1 1/2 inches from the outside of the pastry.

  15. Trim the excess dough around the edge, leaving an even 1-inch border of crust around the filling.

  16. With a sharp paring knife, cut out and discard a 3/4-inch circle of dough from the center.

  17. Press out any trapped air with your hands.

  18. Making shallow cuts, trace 6 to 8 lines — shaped like arcs —from the center hole to the inside edge of the sealed crust, like the spokes of a wheel.

    If the dough gets too warm to work with, just return it to the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to harden.

  19. Mix the heavy cream with the remaining beaten egg and brush over the top of the tart.

  20. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  21. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  22. Bake the tart for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.

  23. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

  24. Bake until the jelly is bubbling and the bottom crust is browned, about 35 minutes.

    To check the bottom crust, lift the tart gently with a spatula.

  25. Set aside to cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes.

  26. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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