My second cousin, Sonia, who, as it happens was a junior bridesmaid at my wedding, mentioned on Facebook that for a Sunday family dinner she had made "pastelitos."
"Pastelitos" is Cuban shorthand for delicate, flaky pastries, filled with "guayaba" (guava) or "carne" (beef). They are also made with other fillings: Coconut, pineapple, mango and cheese, among other choices. But when someone offers you a pastelito you will most likely be presented with a white bakery box where you will find guava and beef-filled pastries.
I could go on and on about pastelitos. They are such a part of Cuban life. Sunday mornings at our house began with my father making a trip to the Cuban bakery and picking up a box of pastelitos. We read the paper and ate them and got sticky flakes all over the table, our shirts and our fingers. There's never a party without pastelitos, and the interesting thing is that no one bakes them. They are always bought at bakeries. In a way, it's like donuts. I mean, who ever makes donuts?
Unfortunately, we don't have a Cuban bakery nearby (neither does my cousin Sonia) so if we are going to satisfy the craving, we are going to have to make them ourselves. I immediately e-mailed Sonia and asked her for the recipe. She responded quickly, and . . . voilà!
My husband, who's had them many times, said that they were even better than the ones from the bakery (smart man!). They did taste pretty good to me, and the kitchen smelled heavenly while they were baking. Now I'm keeping a closer eye on Sonia's Facebook Wall and hope that she figures out a way to make "Guarapo" at home - sugar cane juice.