Cooking Channel readers, meet quesitos. These wonderful little pastries are sold at bakeries throughout Puerto Rico, eaten most often at breakfast alongside a cup of coffee. The cigar-shaped treats are filled with sweetened cream cheese and various fruits, like guava paste, passion fruit and, as used here, pineapple. The tangy-sweet fruit surrenders to its sugary side when sauteed with butter, brown sugar and vanilla, making the quesitos taste even more decadent. They’re beautiful in a shabby-chic kind of way, nothing fussy — just rustic goodness with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. The best thing is that you can whip them together in about 10 minutes and instantly satisfy your craving for something sweet. But piled high on a platter, they just as easily translate into a beautiful dessert for spring entertaining.
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min
Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Yield: 8 servings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small pieces
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
Cream Cheese Filling:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Sugar, for sprinkling on the pastry
Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting the baked pastry
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
In saucepan melt the butter over medium heat; add the brown sugar, pineapple and vanilla bean, with the seeds. Cook until the pineapple is tender and the juices have thickened to a syrup. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly while you make the cheese filling.
To make cheese filling: In a bowl mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Cut the puff pastry into 4- to 5-inch squares, depending on the size of the puff pastry sheet you have. Spread the cheese filling in the middle of each piece of pastry.
Place the pineapples over the cheese filling. Brush the points of the pastry with the egg wash. Fold one side over the filling, and then tuck the other point under the pastry, to create a roll.
Tuck the points under the filled pastry, which will puff up high and keep the filling in the center.
Brush with more egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. You may have to rotate the two trays, top to bottom and back to front, to make sure the pastries are baking evenly. They will be light and puffy when they are done. Allow them to cool.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.
They are fantastic with a cup of coffee.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com, and on the site www.breadin5.com.