Delicious Pastelitos Recipe for A Scrumptious Meal

Picture yourself sitting outside on a warm summer day, the sun shining down on you with a light breeze blowing through your hair. You’re enjoying a delicious pastry and sipping on your favorite drink. Now imagine that pastry is a homemade, perfectly golden-brown pastelito filled with juicy fresh fruit, and you’re in for a real treat.

Originating from the Southwest and Cuban pastries, pastelitos little fruit pies have been a go-to recipe for many bakers throughout the years. These delectable mini-pies can be made with any fresh or dried fruit, making them incredibly versatile and the perfect dessert for any occasion.

I first stumbled upon this recipe while travelling through New Mexico, where I collected recipes from all over the state. It was in Stanley Groves where I tasted my very first Pastelitos Little Fruit Pies, and I have been making them ever since. Today, I will be sharing my recipe for pastelitos little fruit pies – southwest-style.

Whether you serve them at a party or bring them along for a picnic, these little fruit pies are sure to impress everyone who tries them. So grab your apron, let’s make some magic!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pastelitos -- Little Fruit Pies (Southwest)
Pastelitos — Little Fruit Pies (Southwest)

Are you a fan of sweet treats? Do you love the taste of fresh fruit, cinnamon, and pecans? Then you’re in for a real treat! These pastelitos are little fruit pies with a Southwest twist that will have your taste buds singing praises.

What makes this recipe unique is the combination of dried fruits such as golden raisins and juicy fresh fruits like apples or plums. Not to mention the crunch of pecans and the comforting warmth of cinnamon that brings everything together.

And let’s not forget about that flaky pie crust. The pie crust is made with a combination of vegetable shortening and unsalted butter, which gives it that perfect combination of light and flaky as well as tender and delicious.

These little pastries are perfect for a picnic or a small gathering, making them ideal for sharing with loved ones. You’ll be transported to the streets of Miami or New Mexico with each bite, evoking memories of Cuban bakeries or local pastry shops.

If you’re looking for something new and exciting to try out in the kitchen, this Southwest recipe is a must-try. Don’t take our word for it— whip up a batch of these pastelitos for yourself and see what all the fuss is about. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you.

Ingredient List

 Get ready for a fruity explosion in your mouth!
Get ready for a fruity explosion in your mouth!

Ingredients for the Perfect Pastelitos!

Here’s what you’ll need to gather for this Pastelitos – Little Fruit Pies (Southwest) Recipe:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For the filling, you can use any fresh fruit, such as apples, plums or peaches. You can also opt for dried fruits or even guava paste, which is a traditional Cuban delicacy. Some other popular fillings include mini fresh fruit pies, apple hand pies or apricot pastelitos de guayaba.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and textures; the possibilities are endless! You can also add some nuts, like pecans or almonds, and dried fruit. Just make sure to adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.

Once you have your ingredients at hand, you’ll be ready to start making some delicious pastelitos – little fruit pies!

The Recipe How-To

 These pastelitos are the perfect treat for a sunny day.
These pastelitos are the perfect treat for a sunny day.

Making the Pie Crust

To make the pie crust, you’ll need a mix of butter and vegetable shortening. Using both ensures that the crust is flaky and flavorful. Start by cutting 1/2 cup of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup of chilled vegetable shortening into small pieces. Add salt, baking powder, and 2 cups of all-purpose flour to a food processor and pulse until well combined. Gradually add the butter and shortening mixture to the dry ingredients, pulsing until everything comes together.

Next, gradually pour in ice-cold water while the food processor is running, until the dough forms a ball. Divide it into two halves, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Preparing the Filling

While the dough chills, prepare your choice of fruit filling. The beauty of this recipe is that it’s versatile – try using a variety of fresh or dried fruits such as golden raisins, plums, apricots, or peaches. Combine 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar to create a sweet and fragrant mixture.

Add 1 cup of chopped nuts (such as pecans) or dried fruit (such as golden raisins), if desired. Mix well with your fruit filling until everything is evenly coated.

Assembling the Pastelitos

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat with cooking spray.
On a floured surface roll out the chilled dough until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out small circles using a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter (2-3 inches diameter). Gently push each circle into a mini muffin tin cavity.

Fill each cavity with a tablespoonful of the fruit filling mixture filling them only half full as they will expand in baking. Use any remaining scraps to cut out different shapes for decorating; for example, leaves for fall-themed pies, stars for patriotic pies or hearts for Valentine’s Day treats.

Flaky pie crust meets delicious fresh fruit in these Southwest pastries known as pastelitos.
Bake for around 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool completely before serving.

These bite-sized pastelitos are perfect for picnics, afternoon tea parties, or just having on hand for an indulgent snack whenever you need a little pick-me-up. So go ahead and experiment with different fillings to find your favorite combination!

Substitutions and Variations

 A mini pie is always better than a big one, don't you think?
A mini pie is always better than a big one, don’t you think?

One great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. Don’t have vegetable shortening? No problem. Replace it with an equal amount of unsalted butter. Want to mix up the flavors a bit? Try adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or substituting the pecans for walnuts or almonds.

For some additional variation, you can also experiment with different fillings. While this recipe calls for golden raisins and pecans, you can try dried fruit instead, such as apricots or cherries. For a more tropical twist, use guava paste instead of the fruit and add some cream cheese.

If you want to get creative with the presentation, try making mini pastelitos by cutting your pie crust into smaller circles and stuffing them with mini fresh fruit or using taco empanadas as a base. You can also try different pastry recipes to switch things up, such as an apple crumble or even a plum pastelitos.

These variations and substitutions are just some ideas, so feel free to get creative when making these little fruit pies!

Serving and Pairing

 Don't worry, one pastelito won't hurt...unless you eat ten of them.
Don’t worry, one pastelito won’t hurt…unless you eat ten of them.

When it comes to serving pastelitos, one of the best things about these little fruit pies is their versatility. You can enjoy them as a dessert or as a sweet little snack any time of day. While these pastries taste great on their own, they can also be paired with a variety of sweet accompaniments.

For a simple yet flavorful pairing, try serving your pastelitos with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. The cool creaminess of the dairy helps to balance out the sweetness and adds another layer of texture to your pastry experience.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more indulgent, consider pairing your pastelitos with a drizzle of caramel sauce or melted chocolate. The sticky sweetness pairs perfectly with the fruity filling and adds an extra touch of decadence.

For those who want to keep it classic, serving pastelitos with a hot cup of coffee or tea is always a good choice. The warm beverage helps to bring out the cinnamon and spice flavors in the pastry crust while providing a cozy atmosphere perfect for snacking.

For an unexpected twist on tradition, try pairing your pastelitos with a slice of sharp cheese or spicy chorizo. The savory flavors complement the sweetness of the pastry in surprising yet delightful ways.

No matter how you choose to serve your pastelitos, they are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling happy and satisfied. So go ahead – get creative and have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 There's nothing like the aroma of warm, freshly baked pastelitos.
There’s nothing like the aroma of warm, freshly baked pastelitos.

One of the best things about pastelitos is that they can be made in advance and stored for later. This makes them perfect to prepare ahead for a picnic or a party. To make sure your pastelitos stay fresh for longer, store them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge. It’s important to let them cool completely before placing them in the container, to avoid moisture buildup.

If you’ve made more pastelitos than you need, you can also freeze them for later enjoyment. Make sure they’re wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container before placing them in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to a month.

When it comes to reheating your pastelitos, there are a few ways to ensure that they stay delicious and crispy. If reheating from room temperature, pop them in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes or until warm and crispy. Avoid using a microwave as it can make your pastries soggy.

If reheating from frozen, place them directly into a preheated oven at 350°F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes depending on their size.

Now you know how to make your pastelitos ahead of time and keep them fresh so that you can enjoy these little fruit pies on any occasion.

Tips for Perfect Results

 These little pies are bursting with sweet and tangy flavor.
These little pies are bursting with sweet and tangy flavor.

When it comes to making pastelitos, achieving a perfect crust is crucial. Whether you’re making mini fresh fruit pies or traditional Cuban pastries filled with guava or plum, the key lies in the dough. Here are some tips to help you achieve those flaky, buttery crusts that will make your pastelitos stand out.

– Use a combination of vegetable shortening and unsalted butter for best results. This will give you both flakiness and flavor.

– Make sure all your ingredients are cold before you start. Cold ingredients will ensure a flaky crust by preventing the fat from melting too soon during the baking process.

– Don’t overwork the dough! Mixing until everything is just combined will result in a tender crust. Overworking the dough can lead to tough, dense pastelitos.

– Roll out your dough evenly to ensure that each pie cooks evenly. Unevenly rolled dough can cause some pies to burn while others are still pale.

– Chilling the dough for at least an hour before rolling it out can prevent shrinking during baking. Shrinking causes uneven cooking and can result in tough, flat pies.

– Brushing your pie crust with an egg wash (a mixture of one egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water) before baking adds shine and a golden color to the crust.

– If you’re filling your pastelitos with fresh fruit like apples or apricots, toss them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar before adding them to the pies. This will enhance their flavor and sweetness.

– For added crunch and texture, add chopped pecans or golden raisins to your filling.

– Finally, practice makes perfect! You may not get it right on your first try but don’t give up. Keep practicing and adjusting until you find what works best for you.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious pastelitos every time.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this pastelitos recipe is the perfect dessert to share with family and friends. With its delicious combination of fruits, nuts and fragrant cinnamon, it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser that leaves everyone asking for more. Whether you’re serving them up for a picnic, bringing them to a potluck or enjoying them at home, these little fruit pies are versatile, flavorful and easy to make.

So why not try our Southwest recipe for pastelitos today? With ingredients like vegetable shortening, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, and golden raisins, you’ll have everything you need to whip up a batch of these sweet and savory delights. Not only will they impress your guests with their beautiful presentation and aroma, but they’ll also satisfy their sweet tooth without being overly indulgent.

So fire up the oven, turn on some music and get baking! These pastelitos will transport you directly to the Southwest with every bite. And don’t forget to put your own spin on the recipe by experimenting with different fruit combinations or toppings like apple crumble, guava or apricot pastelitos.

Thanks for following along in this recipe article – I hope you enjoy making and eating these wonderful little treats as much as I do!

Pastelitos -- Little Fruit Pies (Southwest)

Pastelitos -- Little Fruit Pies (Southwest) Recipe

This recipe was found in the 1986 cookbook, I Hear America Cooking. These "little pies" are a version of those pastries made in Arizona & New Mexico, especially during Pueblo feast days. Preparation time does not include the 30 minutes needed for the dough to chill. Although this recipe can be considered 'Native American' I marked it as 'Southwest' as part of the USA -- After all, we're all Americans!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southwest
Keyword: < 4 Hours, Dessert, For Large Groups, Fruit, Native American, Nuts, Pie, Southwestern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 30 squares
Calories: 279.3kcal



  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or pinon nuts)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 lb unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup ice water (more or less)


  • FOR THE FILLING: In a saucepan, put apricots in cold water & simmer gently until fruit is soft, about 30 minutes, then drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, puree the apricots, then return the puree to the saucepan, add the brown sugar & cook until puree is very thick, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove puree from heat, then add raisins & nuts, & set aside to cool.
  • FOR THE DOUGH: While the puree is cooling, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt, then cut in the butter & shortening until pea-size pieces form.
  • Add just enough ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to make the flour stick together, then shape into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic & refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then cut the flattened ball in half & roll one of the halves out on a GREASED baking sheet.
  • Spread the fruit mixture on top, ALMOST to the edge.
  • Roll out the second half of the dough large enough to cover the fruit mixture, then place it on top, before pressing the edges together all around to seal.
  • In a small container, whisk together the 1/3 cup of sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, then sprinkle that on top of the prepared pastry. Finally, with the blunt edge of a table knife, mark the pastry into small squares & prick each square with a fork ~ There should be about 30 small squares marked off.
  • Bake about 20 minutes, or until pastry is lightly browned, then cool & cut into the marked squares.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 70g | Calories: 279.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.6g | Protein: 2.9g | Fat: 13.3g | Saturated Fat: 5.4g | Cholesterol: 16.3mg | Sodium: 146.9mg | Fiber: 2.3g | Sugar: 23.8g

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