Sunday, July 26, 2009
Guava jelly on toast was often my Dad's breakfast on weekdays. He'd slather softened butter on his toast and mix in the sweet and slightly tart guava jelly. It was perfect with a cup of black coffee!
Guava is a tropical fruit with a distinct, savory-sweet fresh aroma. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, in fact it has more of this vitamin than some citrus. It is rich in vitamin A and pectin so it is great for making jam and aiding digestion.
It's easy to tell a guava tree from other trees. It's trunk is smooth and mottled reddish brown with a bark that naturally peels off in thin sections somewhat similar to the bark of eucalyptus trees. The wood is strong but pliable. I remember my older brother used to make sling shots (yes, sling shots!) from guava branches. Guava is also medicinal. Steeping leaves in water to make guava tea has been used by many native peoples for stomach upset and dysentery. My dad told me that when he was a kid, he'd get cuts while playing outdoors. He'd mash guava leaves into a paste and apply it to his wounds and in a day they'd healed without leaving a scar.
What I like best about the guava plant is the fruit. Unripe, it is crisp, slightly sweet-tart and delicious but ripe fruits taste even better. Ripe fruit is very sweet! The skin is greenish-yellow and the fine-textured flesh ranges from creamy white to pinkish-red depending on the variety.
Whenever I see guava nectar in the store, I think about making guava jelly. I finally decided to try this week. Well sort of...let me explain, mine is not real guava jelly, it's more like guava syrup. I did not want to add more sugar to the guava nectar and because guava has pectin, I just reduced 3 cups of guava nectar to half it's volume till it became thick and syrupy. This way I can use it for many things such as a filling for pastries, syrup on vanilla ice cream or with iced tea, marinade for chicken, sauce for beef and so on. You can reduce the guava nectar in a wok or a small pot.
Here's the recipe I'm sharing today:
Pistachio Cheese Guava Pastries
1 pkg Pepperidge Farms puff pastry
1 8 oz cream cheese, cut into thin slices
1-1/2 cup guava jelly/guava syrup or 1 pkg guava paste
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Cut puff pastry into rounds to fit a 24-cup mini cupcake pan. Place puff pastry rounds into cupcake pan. It is important to push in the pastry to the bottom and sides of the pan so the filling will not ooze out when the pastry puffs up. Into each, add a slice of cream cheese, some chopped pistachios and a scant 1/2 tsp guava jelly/ guava syrup or a slice of guava paste. You may top this with another pastry round or you may leave it as is. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or so till the pastries rise and are light golden-brown. Cool and serve. Enjoy!
This is my entry to August Weekend Wokking Event hosted this month by Yasmeen.