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Valentine's Day Cuban Pastry Hearts Recipe

heart pastries on cutting board
heart pastries on cutting board - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, which means it's the perfect time to test out heart-shaped recipes. Whether you're celebrating solo or with loved ones, a fun aesthetic turns any dish into something extra special. For a uniquely salty twist, Daily Meal recipe developer Deniz Vergara shares these Valentine's Day Cuban pastry hearts. "I wanted to create a savory Valentine's Day, treat," she says, "because recipes typically lean towards creating something sweet."

These bites are reminiscent of a Cuban sandwich, and Vergara says, "I really like creating dishes that have something familiar presented in a different way ... that is how these pastries came to be." A hearty sandwich requires a committed appetite, but as Vergara says, "The thing I like most about this recipe is how you get a ton of flavor in a small bite." If you're unfamiliar with the classic sandwich, she says, "The combination of ham, cheese, yellow mustard, and pickles, all within a buttery and flaky puff pastry, is just so addictive!"

Read more: The 18 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Sliced Breads You Can Buy

Gather The Ingredients For Valentine's Day Cuban Pastry Hearts

savory pastry ingredients
savory pastry ingredients - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

For these Cuban pastry hearts, you'll need salted butter, a minced garlic clove, dried oregano, yellow mustard, and mayonnaise. Next, defrost a roll of puff pastry dough and cut thick-sliced ham and Swiss cheese slices into smaller pieces. Finally, dice sandwich pickles for a tangy kick.

Step 1: Preheat The Oven

oven preheat display setting
oven preheat display setting - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

‌Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Combine Butter And Seasonings

herb garlic butter in bowl
herb garlic butter in bowl - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, and oregano. Set aside.

Step 3: Combine Condiments

mustard mayo in bowl
mustard mayo in bowl - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

In another small bowl, mix together the mustard and mayonnaise. Set aside.

Step 4: Roll Dough

rolling out puff pastry
rolling out puff pastry - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. Roll out the thawed — but still cold — puff pastry dough sheet on the parchment paper with a rolling pin until the dough is about ¼-inch thick.

Step 5: Cut Hearts

cookie cutter hearts in pastry
cookie cutter hearts in pastry - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 48 hearts from the dough.

Step 6: Add Mustard

pastry hearts with mustard
pastry hearts with mustard - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Spread about ½ teaspoon of mustard mixture on half of the hearts, retaining a small border.

Step 7: Add The Remaining Filling

pastry hearts meat cheese
pastry hearts meat cheese - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Top each with dressed heart with 2 pieces of ham, 1 piece of cheese, and a few pieces of diced pickle.

Step 8: Seal The Top Layer

sealed pastry heart in hand
sealed pastry heart in hand - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Place a plain heart on top and firmly press the edges together with your fingers to seal.

Step 9: Repeat Crimping

sealed pastry hearts on sheet
sealed pastry hearts on sheet - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Repeat the crimping with a fork.

Step 10: Brush The Top And Slit

brushing butter on pastry hearts
brushing butter on pastry hearts - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each heart generously with the butter mixture. Use a paring knife to make a small slit in the center of each heart to allow steam to escape.

Step 11: Bake

pastry hearts in oven
pastry hearts in oven - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Step 11: Serve

pastry hearts with mustard
pastry hearts with mustard - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Serve warm with leftover mustard mixture for dipping.

How Should You Serve These Valentine's Day Cuban Pastry Hearts?

hand holding pastry heart
hand holding pastry heart - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

"Typically, a Cuban sandwich is made from Cuban bread, ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and pickles," Vergara says. Thanks to some experimentation, she proves these timeless flavors don't need to stick to a specific format. "I loved the concept of having a Cuban sandwich in bite-size form," she says.

These savory bites make an excellent introduction to a Valentine's Day meal. As Vergara says, "I like to serve these as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvres," though she points out, "you could always make larger versions and have it as a meal." The small format makes these pastries a great amuse-bouche to start off the night or to enjoy as a snack upon returning home from a daytime frolic. Or, show up to a Valentine's Day potluck with a platter of these Cuban pastry hearts -- there will be enough for everyone!

Can You Make Valentine's Day Cuban Pastry Hearts In Advance?

pastry hearts on cutting board
pastry hearts on cutting board - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

If you're planning a special Valentine's Day spread, it's useful to be able to make some components in advance. Vergara says, "You can absolutely make these ahead of time," and recommends, "underbaking them by a few minutes." This will prevent you from overcooking them when you go to reheat them. Once you take them out of the oven she instructs, "allow them to cool fully, place them in an airtight container, and freeze them until you want to pop them out and reheat them."

With this method, you can feel completely relaxed whether you're hosting your special favorite plus one or bringing these savory Cuban pastry hearts to a large gathering. If you are preparing these closer to the date, Vergara notes, "You can also store these in the refrigerator for 4 days." Just reheat them in the oven to bring out that delicious, flaky crunch.

Valentine's Day Cuban Pastry Hearts Recipe

hand holding savory pastry heart
hand holding savory pastry heart - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Prep Time: 20mCook Time: 15mYield: 24 HeartsIngredients

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough, defrosted

  • 4 slices thick-sliced ham, cut into 12 pieces each (48 pieces total)

  • 4 slices Swiss cheese, cut into 6 pieces each (24 pieces total)

  • 2 sandwich pickles, diced

Directions

  1. ‌Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, and oregano. Set aside.

  3. In another small bowl, mix together the mustard and mayonnaise. Set aside.

  4. Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface. Roll out the thawed — but still cold — puff pastry dough sheet on the parchment paper with a rolling pin until the dough is about ¼-inch thick.

  5. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 48 hearts from the dough.

  6. Spread about ½ teaspoon of mustard mixture on half of the hearts, retaining a small border.

  7. Top each dressed heart with 2 pieces of ham, 1 piece of cheese, and a few pieces of diced pickle.

  8. Place a plain heart on top and firmly press the edges together with your fingers to seal.

  9. Repeat the crimping with a fork.

  10. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each heart generously with the butter mixture. Use a paring knife to make a small slit in the center of each heart to allow steam to escape.

  11. Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

  12. Serve warm with leftover mustard mixture for dipping.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.