Growing up in Brazil, we often had a very simple dessert known as “Romeo and Juliet”, which is basically a slice of fresh cheese served with a slice of guava paste (also known as goiabada or guayabate = a very thick puree of guava fruit and sugar, often with added pectin).
Fruit and cheese are such a classic combination, right? The sweet guava paste (Juliet) and the salty cheese (Romeo) compliment each other perfectly, and the two base ingredients are very inexpensive and easily found anywhere in the country.
I’ve seen and tried versions with different cheeses and variations of the guava paste, but simple or elegant, this flavour combo is consistently awesome! The duo has also inspired other culinary creations, such as pies, hors-d’oeuvres, pastries, cakes, ice cream, and many other delights.
Back to my adventures in the kitchen, I must confess that since coming to Canada, I have developed a mild obsession with cheesecakes. I love the tart, salty and sweet cream cheese layer and the flaky crust. It’s one of my favourite desserts, and I usually prefer the ones that are not overly sweet and have a fruit element.
So I thought to myself, how about joining this current fave with a traditional flavour profile and making a “Romeo and Juliet” cheesecake with a guava topping? It took some tweaking to fine tune the recipe, but now this cheesecake has become a top choice at home and among our friends.
Try it and let me know what you think!
Romeo and Juliet Cheesecake
12 to 16 slices
- 1 1/4 cup maria cookie crumbs (about 15 cookies, crushed in the food processor)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3 pkg (250 g each) Philadelphia cream cheese, softened (microwave on high, 15 sec per pack)
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 400 g guava paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 small tin of thick cream (170 ml, optional)
- Heat oven to 325°F (165°C).
- Combine butter with cookie crumbs and press to the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Do not overmix. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust.
- Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is almost set but still looks a bit wobbly. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake for 3-4 hours before adding the topping.
- Cut guava paste into smaller pieces and add to a microwave-safe dish. Add water and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stir, heat for another 2 minutes, stir and repeat until all pieces are dissolved. The mixture should be creamy and smooth. Depending on the consistency of the guava paste, a bit more water may be needed (add 1 extra tbsp at a time, careful not to make the mixture too runny).
- To make the guava topping even creamier and less sweet, add the thick cream (optional) and mix until incorporated. This makes the guava layer take a lighter almost pink colour instead of the traditional deep red, but the rich creaminess is totally decadent!
- Place cheesecake in a serving dish. Spread the guava topping over it, letting it run down the sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Enjoy and get ready for the compliments!
- If the cream cheese mixture is overmixed (especially after adding the eggs), it will rise more in the oven and the cheesecake will crack. Use low speed or mix by hand.
- Loosening the baked cake from the pan rim while still hot will help avoid cracking as it cools.