These pretty little pastries are made throughout South America, traditionally with membrillo (quince cheese). You can make them with any fruit cheese – a thicker, harder set jam – and here I’ve used damson (available from delicatessens).

I have made the pastelitos the traditional way, drenched in syrup after cooking, but I like them also dusted in a mixture of cinnamon and icing sugar, which forms a slight crust if done while still hot.

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  • 1 packet of pre-rolled puff pastry
  • Sunflower oil For deep frying
  • Icing sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Damson cheese


  • STEP 1

    Roll out the pre-rolled pastry a little further so that it is fine but not unworkably delicate.

  • STEP 2

    Cut into 4-5cm squares and put a teaspoon of damson cheese at the centre of half of the squares.

  • STEP 3

    Wet the edges and then place a square of pastry over the top, offset to form an-eight-pointed star shape.

  • STEP 4

    Pinch in around the fruit cheese to make the shapes as defined as possible, otherwise the definition will be lost when the pastry puffs up.

  • STEP 5

    Chill in the fridge for half an hour.

  • STEP 6

    Heat a pan full of oil until a bread crumb dropped in starts bubbling straight away, then carefully lower the pastries in, pretty side down, three at a time.

  • STEP 7

    Fry for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, then flip and fry on the other side.

  • STEP 8

    Remove from the fat, drain on kitchen roll and sieve a mixture of cinnamon and icing sugar over them.