One of our favorite stops in Los Angeles was Porto’s Bakery. Everything was fresh and delicious at shockingly low prices. I’m dreaming about them expanding to New York one day but I know that’s a long shot so I may have to recreate some of their treats for myself. One of the pastries we enjoyed was a flaky and buttery pastry with a guava and cream cheese filling. They called it the Refugiado, but I’m not sure why it’s called the Refugee. (Hey Latino friends, holla if you know. ) Those layer-y doughs are a lot of work for home bakers and so is the idea of getting fresh guava to make a jam or preserve for yourself. Don’t worry, I came up with an easier alternative.

Guava Cheese Pastries lined up 4

Guava paste is going to be your new best friend. This dense brick of paste can be rectangular or circular, and lasts for months. Eaten by itself, it tastes like fruit roll-ups or fruit leather, very addicting. I first tried guava paste on a cheese platter we served at Aix (where I did my externship). I believe it was the influence of our Mexican assistant pastry chef, nicknamed Jango. While you may see guava paste these days at cheese counters or fancy groceries, the best place to buy it is at any Latin grocery. It will be about a quarter of the price. The guava paste is pretty sticky so you’ll need a sharp knife to make thin slices. It also helps to clean the knife when it gets too sticky.

guava paste

My Mini Refugiados really came out wonderfully, little pockets of deceivingly light pastry with a mildly sweet and creamy inside, accented by the tang of guava. Though this is very doable for any home cook, do expect it to be more work than your average drop cookie. If you make the dough the night before, it’ll feel like less work the day you make them. Hey, it totally works on me.

Guava Cheese Pastries

Mini Refugiado: Guava Cheese Pastry
~makes 20 little pastries

Sour cream pastry

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 5 ounces sour cream


  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grate lemon zest
  • 20 guava paste slices (2″x 1″ x 1/4″) *try to get a little under 1/4″ thick
  • 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water mixed together for egg wash


1. Combine the flour and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture feels like course sand.

2. Stir sour cream in with a fork. Use your fingers to press into a ball.

3. Divide in half and flatten into a roughly square shape. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours up to 3 days.

4. After dough is done chilliing, process the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla, and zest in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

cream cheese filling

5. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator. Set aside for 10 minutes before rolling. Roll on a floured surface, into a rectangle, a bit less than 1/8 inch thick.

6. Cut the pastry into 2″x3″ rectangles. (After you cut rectangles, you can ball-up and re-roll left-over dough.) Lay half of them on a un-greased baking sheet. Place a slice of guava paste on the center of each.

guava paste on dough 2

7. Add a gently rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling on top. *Note: You will have some cream cheese filling left-over but it’s hard to make smaller amounts because it’s already down to 1 egg.

guava paste and cream cheese filling

8. Brush egg wash along the edges of each pastry and rest another rectangle of dough on top.  Press down on the edges to seal. Use a sharp knife to make three little slits on each pastry.

sealed and slits made

9. Brush all of them with egg wash and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Now you can preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and work on the other piece of dough (repeating steps 5 through 8 with it).

egg washed pastries

10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wired rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Guava Cheese Pastries lined up 8

They are fine cooled to room temperature as well but best eaten the same day. We ate them at night, just lightly toasted in a toaster oven, which was also fantastic.

Guava Cheese Pastries cut open 6

posted by jessica at 04:25 PM Filed under Desserts, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.