One of the best culinary hot spots Puerto Rico has to offer are their wonderful bakeries, locally referred to as panaderías. A wide-array of delicious traditional foods are available at these mom-and-pop run shops, ranging from the freshest of breads, pastries, sandwiches and coffee.
Like Starbucks, these locally-run bakeries are located on almost every corner. Unlike the corporate coffee company, however, their coffee costs a fraction of the price.
A simple espresso with warm milk—otherwise known as cortados—cost a mere 50 cents, and, while organic chocolate mouse may not be waiting for you behind the glass counter at one of these panaderías, your palette remains destined to salivate at the array of delicious Puerto Rican pastries made fresh daily.
One of the most popular pastries is called a quesito. This oven-baked pastry is a flaky, slightly crispy, sugar-coated treat stuffed with vanilla-flavored cream cheese and can best be appreciated with a tall glass of milk or hot flavorful coffee. It is not guaranteed, however, that fans of this regional dish might find this local pastry beyond the island’s coast.
So for those who wish to satisfy their quesito craving, or anyone who just yearns to try something knew, here is the recipe for this simple and impressive treat certain to fulfill your taste buds with less than 25 minutes in the kitchen.
- Yield: 10
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 22
- Active: 10
- 1 puff pastry sheet package (specifically, 1 sheet)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 Tbs sugar (more or less, to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla (more or less, to taste)
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup (more or less, to taste)
- Egg white of 1 egg
- Mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. On average I use more than one teaspoon of vanilla. Vanilla can be very overpowering, so approach with caution. Increase by 1/2 teaspoon until desired taste is met.
- Cut pastry sheet into 3” x 2” rectangles.
- Place about 1 tsp. cheese mixture in the middle. Grab one edge and pull into the center of rectangle. Pinch tip into the middle of the sheet. Grab the edge across from it and wrap around towards the end across from it. Pinch at the bottom.
- Brush with egg whites and roll in sugar. The sugar is to taste, but ideally a quesito has a nice sugary crust that crunches when one takes a bite.
- Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees until golden.
- Remove from oven and brush with a moderate amount of light corn syrup over each one.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and ta-da…Time to bust out the milk!