Smitty's back with another report from out West

One nice thing about our apartment is easy access to fruit trees. A guest comes over with a case of Tecate but forgets the limes? Nothing that a quick trip to the lime tree in the front yard can't fix! I use the word "yard" loosely, as the area out front is actually a small parking lot for the building. But you get the idea.

Recently, the parking lot was littered with the unidentified fruits of an overhanging tree. Rather than let them get squashed by the cars in the lot, an industrious Emily started gathering them up and taking them with her to work ("the factory"). She quickly discovered that they were delicious and enlisted the help of a native Californian co-worker to identify the tasty treat - guavas!

We soon began gathering the guavas faster than we could eat them, so I looked online for a guava recipe and found a winner -- guava and manchego phyllo pouches.

The recipe called for a cup of cubed guava paste (which you can apparently buy frozen), but since we had the real deal, I used fresh guava. Mix the guava with 1 cup cubed manchego cheese, 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Next up is the spice mixture -- mix 9 tablespoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Melt 1 stick of butter and set aside. You're now ready to begin making your phyllo pouches. You should be able to get frozen phyllo dough at your local grocery store (note that you'll need to let the dough thaw for a few hours before using).

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on your work surface and cover the rest with plastic wrap and a damp towel to keep them from drying out (this is important, the sheets will stick together and become brittle very quickly). Brush the phyllo with butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture to cover.

Repeat 2 more times to make 3 layers.

Cut in half crosswise, making 2 stacks. Place 1/3 cup guava filling in the middle of each stack, and gather the edges to form a pouch.

Brush the tops with butter, place them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with some of the sugar mixture. You'll have enough mixture for 6 pouches.

Bake for 20-30 min at 350 until golden and bubbly.

Serve with some mulled wine

Dig in, and enjoy!

The end result really was delicious. The manchego and the guavas, and the sugar/cinnamon and the cayenne made for a really unusual and delightful mix of sweet and savory. If you don't have access to guava, I think apples or pears could be a great substitution (though you might want to roast or bake them first so they aren't too crunchy). You could also substitute toasted pine nuts for the almonds. It's a fun dish to play around with and make your own!


dapeen said...

i enjoyed this post....very much. Mail me a guava and I'll send you a gyro....on some hot BUNS!!!

stevenpowell said...

holy hell you guys are inventive w/ your driveway food! the closest thing i'd say we have in chicago this time o' year would be a dead leaf salad. mmmmmmmmmmmm. ok. you win.