Last updated on 18-Sep-2023
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 with our friends.
Try it and get ready for the compliments!
Romeo and Juliet Cheesecake
- 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan or other round cake pan with removable bottom
- 1 ¼ cup maria cookie crumbs about 15 cookies, crushed in the food processor or placed inside a plastic zip-top bag and crushed with a rolling pin
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 750 g cream cheese (3 brick packages) softened in the microwave for 45 seconds
- ½ cup sugar granulated
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 300-400 g guava paste
- ½ cup water
- 170 ml thick cream (1 small tin, 6 oz) whipping cream or crème fraîche, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line the bottom (circle) and sides (long strip, optional) of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
- Combine butter with cookie crumbs and press to the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on slowly after each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix or whip.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over crust. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the center is almost set but still looks a bit jiggly.
- Remove from the oven. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan; let 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 (or use a saucepan on the stovetop instead of the microwave). 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.
- Remove pan bottom (and paper) and transfer the cooled cheesecake to a serving dish. Spread the guava topping over it, letting it run down the sides. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- 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 with the beater attachment (not the whisk) or mix by hand.
- Loosening the baked cake from the pan rim while still hot will help avoid cracking as it cools.
- The addition of thick cream makes the guava layer take a lighter, almost pink colour instead of the traditional deep red, but the rich creaminess is totally decadent!
- If you can't find guava paste, use dulce de leche or your favourite jam, thinned out a little if needed.