Saturday, May 31, 2008

El Pastel de Guayaba de Aba (Guava Pie)

This was a surprise cooking class, literally planned two days before it happened. Our "teacher" Maria Cristina (Aba) is - OK stay with me here: our friend's brother-in-law's grandmother. How cool is it that she was willing to teach us?
We got together on a Friday after work. One of the participants was very pregnant and "due any minute" - well she gave birth to a healthy baby girl the very next day! I think it was the guava fumes that did it. Now, enough dilly-dallying, let's get to the cooking.

  1. The Ingredients

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup COLD shortening (have the shortening in the refrigerator for at least an hour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg yolks for the dough + 1 egg yolk mixed with a little milk for the egg wash glaze
1 cup cold water (you probably won't use it all)
2 cups guava marmalade
Note - we used 9 inch foil pie pans, but you can use rectangular tart pans or whatever pan you like.

The Process - makes four 9" pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Sift the flour with baking powder, salt and sugar

  1. Add the cold shortening and two egg yolks.
  2. Mix with your fingertips (no kneading) until the mixture becomes small crumbles. Don’t use the palms of your hand because that will warm the shortening and make it harder to work with.

  1. Add the water a tablespoon at a time as you mix the dough with your hands (again without kneading) until the dough separates from the bowl (similar to making a pie crust).

  1. Form a ball with the mixture and put it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Grease four pans with a little shortening , flour lightly and set aside.

  1. Sprinkle flour on two large sheets of wax paper.
  2. Divide the big dough ball into 4 smaller balls.
  3. Place about 2/3 of a dough ball on one sheet and cover it with the other. Reserve remainder of dough ball for lattice strips.

  1. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 of an inch. Do this with each dough ball.

  1. Place the rolled out dough in each pie pan trim to fit pan.

  1. Spoon out and spread 1/2 cup of the marmalade on the dough for each.

  1. Roll out more dough to create lattice strips.
  2. For each pie, cut out lattice strips long enough to go across the pie just short of the actual edge of the pie and lay them on top of the guava. Make a border with additional strips covering all the short ends of lattice.

  1. Trim off excess bottom crust.
  1. Brush the milk and egg wash over the lattice strips and borders.
  1. Bake the pies for approximately 30 minutes until golden.

Note: This pie dough can also be filled with chicken fricassee, ground beef, tuna, etc. to make savory pies. For savory pies, rather than using a lattice topping, you can make a solid top.

Not bad for an impromptu session, huh? Let us know how you like the pastel or if you make a savory version of it. Also, we're planning the next few classes now, so check back often for some new "old" recipes.

¡Buen provecho!