It was my father-in-law’s birthday this weekend, so I jumped at the opportunity to create something delectable. My in-laws hail from tropical countries and have spent most of their lives here in Miami. So tropical fruit is the go-to treat in their household.
When I sent my birthday wishes I also asked if there was anything in particular he’d like on his special day. The request?
“Anything with guava in it.”
I have to admit I wasn’t exactly excited about this challenge, but I accepted it nonetheless. The “guava” that is so popular here is actually hardly guava at all. It’s more like a gelatinized guava-ish block of sugar that is usually served with a slice of cheese.
It’s a real treat here that many people enjoy, and for good reason. The pair together is a unique and oddly delicious dessert that somehow just works. This block of sugar-guava, though, is the only guava experience I have had thus far. So I wasn’t quite sure how to even work with guava, what flavors it paired with, or (admittedly) what it even looked like in the whole fruit form.
So I went to the one place I knew (okay, assumed) had guava, Palacios de los Jugos, because, well, it’s about as tropical a place you can get without actually leaving the U.S. I filled a bag with the fragrant fruit and hoped that I had grabbed the right one (I Google-checked the fruit once I got home).Luckily, I had grabbed the right fruit. From there, the rest was history. I wanted to mimic the traditional guava and cheese combo with a guava cheesecake, but raw-ified.
It worked easily and made for a beautiful dessert. This was a lightly flavored cheesecake with a strong guava layer that tied everything together.And if you live in any other part of the country (or non-tropical climate) and do not have access to guava, swap it out for raspberries or strawberries! Just as delicious and pretty.
- Pit and peel the dates.
- Put everything in a food processor and pulse until crumbly and sticky.
- Press into the bottom of an 8″ springform pan and set aside.
- Place everything in a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth. Use the tamper to facilitate blending, as needed.
- Pour over the crust, smooth out with a spatula, and set in the freezer for an hour or so to set. It needs to be set enough to withstand the final guava layer.
- Blend everything in a high speed blender until smooth. Use a tamper as needed to help facilitate blending.
- Remove the cheesecake layer from the freezer and test for firmness.
- Pour the guava filling over the cheesecake layer and smooth with a spatula.
- Place in the freezer to set for another 1-2 hours, or until firm.
- Top with coconut cream and shaved guava.