For a long time, I hated Valentine’s day. Now I’m okay with it. I just don’t go overboard with it.
I guess I don’t like the feeling of being forced to celebrate something and all the advertising around it, especially here in the USA. Most of our holidays are low on meaning and high in commercialism. Having said that, here is my nod to VD.
So even though I made a Valentine’s Day dessert, please don’t feel like you have to have a VD dinner, with VD roses, VD chocolates in a VD red, heart-shaped box! Think outside the box! Ha!
Unless you like all that stuff, then it’s okay. For me, I still get overwhelmed with the advertisements, but I usually just do one thing, like a dessert, to celebrate it. Ben works that night at the pizzeria, making heart-shaped pizzas, so I doubt we will celebrate it when he gets home. So this is it! We are celebrating it today with our morning coffee.
I made this with way too much guava, and it overpowered the manchego cheese. The photos represent more guava, a 2:1 ratio, 2 ounces guava paste to 1 ounce of the cheese, but I reversed it in writing out the recipe, because I couldn’t even taste the cheese. If you’d rather it be all guava flavored without tasting the cheese much, reverse the ratio back, but then I’d recommend using a cheaper and milder cheese, because why waste money on an aged cheese if you can’t even taste it?
Also, this cheese and guava combo is an acquired taste. If you haven’t tried guava, either fresh or in paste form, I encourage you to try it with an open mind. Some people get disappointed that it doesn’t taste like strawberry! Pairing guava paste with cheese is common in Spain and in the Caribbean. Although I grew up in Guam, where guavas are common, I did not pair it with cheese. This took some getting used to, but now I really like the pairing. If you’ve not had either, buy a little of the guava paste and some cheese and try it as toppings on saltines or Ritz crackers. It’ll grow on you.
This would be excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was planning on making manchego ice cream to go with it, but manchego is expensive, and my ice cream bowl needs to frozen before I can use it, and I was just feeling lazy. I can still go out and buy vanilla ice cream, but now that we have a snow storm advisory in the Seattle area until 4pm today, I would rather just have it with my coffee. Happy VD, I mean, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Guava Manchego Mini Galettes
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 and 1/2 teaspoons sugar
large pinch sea salt
4-6 Tablespoons ice-cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten plus 2 teaspoons milk
1 16 ounce package guava paste (pasta de guayaba), such as Goya brand. You’ll only need about 8 ounces, chopped. Keep the rest well wrapped in plastic in the fridge.
1 pound of your favorite cheese, grated. I used manchego, but you can also use fontina, gruyere, or jack.
To make the dough in a food processor, add the flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (I don’t know what that exactly looks like, so I just pulsed it for about 5 times, each pulse very brief, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but the food processor is so efficient, one must be careful not to overdo it, which makes the dough tough!)
Drizzle 4-6 Tablespoons of the ice water while pulsing a few more times. Be very judicious with the amount of pulsing you do. (I really thought I had under-pulsed it, because it barely came together, but that’s what you need to do.) It should barely come together. In fact, mine did not come together as a ball while in the food processor, which differed from what the original recipe suggested. Remove from the processor and form into a disk with your hands. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove disk from fridge after an hour, or overnight. Divide into four equal pieces. Place one piece on the counter, putting the rest in the fridge to keep it from getting too warm.
Take the first piece and divide it into two equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a disk about 6 inches in diameter. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, in fact an imperfect circle just look more interesting anyway.
Place about 2 ounces of grated cheese in the center, and about 1 ounce of guava paste, chopped. Working around the filling fold one edge of the dough towards the center of the filling, and do this around the filling, making pleats with the dough around the filling, and folding the dough, as needed.
Press down slightly to seal the dough, which helps keep the filling from seeping out as it bakes. A little seeping out is okay. The seepage is kind of like fruit roll ups.
Do this with the second piece of dough, and repeat this process with each of the four pieces of dough for a total of 8 mini galettes. After making each mini gallete, place it in the fridge to keep it from getting too warm.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk one egg with 2 teaspoons milk. Brush the surfaces of each galette with this mixture. Sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar, before baking, if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees F, for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven to cool slightly before serving.