Valentine’s Day is coming up quickly. While this traditionally has been a holiday I’ve shrugged off, my husband loves to go all out and give me roses and chocolates. On one occasion, I got a teddy bear and the flowers. Last year he gave me custom jewelry with his and my son’s birthstones.
Needless to say, he’s changed my attitude about Valentine’s Day. I wholeheartedly admit I love flowers and candy. To be given those things from him makes them even more special.
Usually I cook him his favorite meal for this holiday. This year, I decided to do something different.
My husband is Cuban. There is very little that he loves more than a pastelito. We live walking distance to Porto’s Cuban Bakery, which has all sorts of Cuban and Cuban-inspired treats. We used to go there all the time. It’s cheap. It’s delicious. The food is fresh. The coffee is strong. The lines are…long. Oh…that’s right. It usually takes a minimum of an hour to get in and out of Porto’s, even if the items have been ordered ahead.
Regardless, I wanted to make him something.
Guava pastries are not difficult. They are basically puff pastry, guava paste, and the optional cream cheese. While they are always delicious, mine have not always been pretty. In fact, it seems like no matter how hard I try, they always turn out pretty ugly. For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make him something beautiful.
I decided to make my husband a Cuban-inspired guava macaron with a guava paste center and guava/cream cheese frosting around the edge. Macarons are ALWAYS pretty, right?
I experimented with this macaron during the holidays. I wanted to gift them to his family and close friends. However, the humidity and constant rainfall in Atlanta this last December made it so the shells cracked and wouldn’t form correctly. They tasted great, but weren’t the right texture. They were the perfect pink color with a dusting of sparkly rose gold. Yet, the finished result looked sad.
I was so disappointed. I tried twice. I failed twice. Finally, I gave up. They got devoured anyway.
I hadn’t made a macaron since then, so I was trepidatious – especially since desert dry Los Angeles has been wet.
I took a breath and started to sift…
Happily, they came together! My husband was so excited, he couldn’t wait until Valentine’s Day to eat them. That’s fine with me.
BASIC MACARON SHELL (Click here for the recipe)
GUAVA/CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 1 – 14 ounce package of guava paste
- 1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese (room temperature)
- ½ cup confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- Match the macaron shells into pairs and lay them out to fill.
- Place the cream cheese into a bowl for a stand mixer.
- Cut the guava paste into slices and place in a small pot.
- Add a splash of water to the guava paste. Heat on medium until most of the paste has broken down into syrup. Keep stirring until there are no lumps. Then let it cool slightly.
- Pour half of the guava syrup into the bowl with the cream cheese and begin to blend with the whip attachment.
- While the cream cheese is blending, place the remaining guava syrup into a piping bag and pipe a small circle in the middle of the macaron shell.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar to the cream cheese and blend together until completely combined.
- Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a piping bag.
- Pipe the cream cheese around the guava paste, leaving some space on the edges for it to spread.
- Top it with the matched shell and move on to the next one.
- Refrigerate macarons to keep fresh.