Puff Pastry Braid with Guava and Cream Cheese
“A store-bought sheet of puff pastry makes for a very easy yet impressive-looking dessert when filled, braided, and baked in a toaster oven–style air fryer. This one is inspired by my friend Marta Rivera’s pastelillos, with a sweetened cream cheese filling underneath the traditional guava paste. Slice and serve with coffee for dessert, or as Marta serves her pastelillos, as a morning or afternoon treat. “Copyright © 2022 by Coco Morante Photography © 2022 by Dana Gallagher “
Servings Prep Time
4-6Servings 15Minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4-6Servings 15Minutes
Cook Time
  • 4ounces cream cheeseat room temperature
  • 2tbsp plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1tbsp all-purpose flourplus more for dusting
  • 1 large eggseparated
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 frozen puff pastry sheetthawed at room temperature for 40 minutes
  • 6slices guava paste1/8-inch-thick, about 4 ounces; see note
  1. In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, 2 tbsp of the sugar, flour, egg yolk, vanilla, and salt until evenly mixed.
  2. Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out lengthwise, until it is about 11 inches long. Transfer the puff pastry to a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. With a sharp paring knife, cut 1-inch diagonal strips, lengthwise, one-third of the way into the puff pastry on either side, leaving the middle third intact. (These dough strips will later be folded over the top of the filling in a braid.)You should end up trimming away triangle-shaped wedges at the bottom and top of the pastry.
  4. Spread out the cream cheese mixture along the middle third of the pastry, leaving about 1 inch at the top and bottom of the pastry bare. Lay the strips of guava paste along the middle of the cream cheese.
  5. Fold the top and bottom bare inches of the pastry over onto the cream cheese filling. Then, alternating sides, fold the diagonal strips over the top of the cream cheese and guava paste, to make a braid.
  6. Preheat a toaster oven–style air fryer on Bake at 375°F and set the cooking time for 14 minutes. Line the cooking pan with parchment or aluminum foil.
  7. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg white over the pastry braid, then sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 tsp sugar. Transfer the pastry braid to the lined cooking pan.
  8. Bake the braid in the preheated toaster oven–style air fryer.
  9. When the cooking program ends, carefully transfer the braid to a cooling rack. Allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Transfer to a serving dish, cut into slices, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: Guava paste (pasta de guayaba) is available in most Hispanic grocery stores and online. Iberia brand, which comes in an easily sliceable block, is my favorite one to use. You can substitute quince paste (membrillo) for the guava paste, if you like.