Puerto Rican Quesitos
Last spring several Latina bloggers were invited to Chicago to the Comida Kraft headquarters. It was a great trip. We had the fortunate opportunity of meeting the well renowned Chef Oropeza from Mexico. Yvette even jumped at the opportunity to cook one of his dishes, crafted specifically for Comida Kraft. Who wouldn’t jump at that chance, he’s quite guapo (handsome) and that smile, hubba-hubba! Okay back to food.
Anyhow, during our trip to Chicago we took a tour of one of the most vibrant Latino neighborhoods in Chicago, also known as “Paseo Boricua”. It is the only officially recognized Puerto Rican neighborhood in the nation. This neighborhood is rich in culture with colorful and historic murals. As the day got a little windy (in the windy city) and quite chilly we made a mad dash to the nearest panadería for some coffee and some Puerto Rican quesitos.
This was our first experience trying these popular pastries of Puerto Rico. OMG, those quesitos were unbelievable. These oven-baked, sugar-coated, and vanilla-flavored cream cheese flaky pastries were AMAZING. Before long, mom, Yvette, and I were talking about recreating those melt-in-your mouth quesitos.
We couldn’t share the quesitos without a warm cozy drink to accompany them. For this drink we used this beautiful red espresso maker from our amigos at IMUSA. It makes about 4 small cups or 2 large cups of espresso. We decided to merge several Latinos in this post so here you have it a Cuban espresso, a Puerto Rican quesito all brought to you by three happy Latinas. Aprovecho!
Photography by Jeanine Thurston
Vanilla Cream Cheese Quesitos
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 puff pastry sheet, recommend Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets
- 1 large egg white
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 8 tablespoons freshly-squeezed orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Cut pastry sheet into 3” x 2” rectangles.
- Place about 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture in the middle of the cut pastry.
- Grab an edge and pull it in tightly to the center. Fold up the tips on the opposite ends toward the center. Continue to roll the dough until you create a little cocoon. Pinch the rolled edges shut.
- Place on a greased cookie sheet.
- 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 to 12 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove quesitos from oven and brush with a moderate amount of Orange Glaze (see below) over each one.
- Allow 10 minutes to cool before eating.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, orange zest, and orange juice; bring just to a boil so the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Stove Top Espresso:
- To make espresso with a stovetop espresso maker, first unscrew the top part of the espresso maker and the funnel insert.
- Fill the lower part of the espresso maker with cold water, making sure not to fill it past the safety valve.
- Replace the filter funnel and fill with 3 tablespoons of extra-fine ground or espresso-grind coffee.
- Replace the top of the espresso maker and screw on tightly.
- Place the espresso maker on high heat until it boils and the top container fills with brewed coffee (You’ll hear the bubbling and steaming when it’s almost ready. If you want to check on it, lift the lid carefully so you don’t get burned.)
- Café con leche (coffee with milk), is a Cuban espresso served alongside a cup of hot or steamed milk. The espresso is poured into the glass of hot milk and, then, stirred making it a cafecito.
- Feel free to use any other citrus fruit for the glaze!