a facebook friend posted some ideas for guava & it had me thinking. i have never cooked with it before, so i decided to make 2 dishes with it. the first is a very flaky & very sweet pastery called guava & manchego phyllo pouches with passion fruit syrup.

first i had to scout out some of the hard-to-find ingredients. guava is bought in a giant round can in a paste form. i found it for a couple bucks at my local caniceria.

you have to chop this sticky mess into tiny 1/4 inch cubes & combine with manchego cheese (a spanish cheese very similar to sharp white cheddar), sliced toasted almonds & vanilla. weird, right?

the one ingredient i failed to locate was passion fruit or granadilla in spanish. i read the reviews for this recipe and that’s what everyone else was missing. so i decided to concoct something similar. i purchased some fresh pineapple & my very first papaya! i picked a super ripe beauty out at the mexican market. i was proud that i chose such a beauty!

the sauce is the fruit pureed with sugar & water reduced on the stove. it is VERY sweet & turns out the pastry does not really need it.

i’ve worked with phyllo before when i held a job as a cook for neiman marcus. i made baklava regularly. the thin sheets of dough are a pain & dry out easily, so you have to keep them covered with a damp towel. you melt butter, brush one sheet, sprinkle with a cinnamon/sugar/cayenne/cinnamon mix, add another sheet for 3 rounds, cut it in half, put the filling in & bunch it around the best you can. then you brush the outside with butter & bake for 20 minutes.

this is very strange, but in a good way. the combo is a surprise, the cheese bites through. it’s probably the most unusual dish i have made in a long time. i think next time i will take the same filling & mix with cream cheese instead of manchego, wrap in a won-ton skin & deep fry like they do at the cuban joint. they make really great guava/cream cheese empanadas.

there was too much guava left so i made a marinade with it with habanero peppers, key limes, achiote paste & other spices & put a whole cut up chicken in it for 2 days. i will post the results in the next post.