Tag Archives: Colombian food

Guava Pie

guava_pie

Kristen provided the inspiration for this tropical winter dessert, which I made at her dinner party on Sunday. She wanted something that featured guava and cashews. All the other ingredients were just things she and Billy had laying around the kitchen…like Meyer lemon syrup!

This pie was so good that I wanted to share the recipe.

Basically, it is a cheesecake. But when I picture cheesecake, I picture something twice this size. So, I just called it a pie. But if you want to make an 8″ cheesecake, just double the filling ingredients.

Kristen and Anita’s Guava Cheese Pie with Cashew Crust

for the crust:
1 c. unsalted cashews
1 sleeve plain graham crackers, broken up
½ c. light brown sugar
1 tbp. ground cinnamon, plus one more if you really like it
1 tsp. each ground ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter

for the filling:
½ c. canned guava paste, cut into small chunks
1 package cream cheese (we used Neufchâtel) at room temperature
¾ c. greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 c. Meyer lemon syrup, or ½ c. sugar simmered with juice of 2 lemons until syrupy
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, pulse together all crust ingredients, except butter, until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a small bowl. Melt the butter and add ¾ of it to the bowl. Use your hands or a spoon to get it fully incorporated. Add more butter as necessary until the mixture holds a shape when squeezed in your hand.

Pour half of the crumbs into a pie plate and smash evenly on the bottom of the pan and up the sides to form a ¼” thick crust. Add extra crumbs as necessary to fill spaces.

Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until edges begin to color. Remove and allow to cool. Extra crumbs can be kept in a sealed container in the freezer for another use.

In a medium bowl, whip together the cream cheese, yogurt, eggs, lemon syrup, flour and salt with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon. Reserve.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the guava paste with a splash of water. Keep stirring until smooth, and add another splash of water, if necessary, to keep it from sticking.

Pour half of the cheese mixture into the crust. Drop a few spoonfuls of guava on top, and drag a toothpick through the blobs to spread them out a little, being careful not to puncture the crust below. Repeat with the remaining cream cheese and guava.

Place the pie plate in an oven-safe casserole dish or tray that has enough water to come half way up the sides of the pie plate. Bake 20 minutes, then rotate and bake another 20 minutes. Check to see if the pie is set (it’s okay if it still jiggles slightly just in the center) and if not, return to oven for 10 more minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Slice and serve with black Colombian coffee.

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Rolling with the Peaches

Saturday was my friend Sky’s birthday party. We celebrated with lots of karaoke and a vegan feijoada prepared by her best bud Marcela and me. Feijoada is a Brazilian feast that features black beans, rice, various salads, and a huge platter of MEAT. (Guess which part we left out.)

The preparations began a few days ago, when Marcela emailed me with the idea and I ran to my bookshelf and pulled out my 1968 edition Latin American Cooking by Time Life Books.

Elegant Brazilian Ladies enjoy a feijoada completa.

I remembered there was an entire section on feijoada, because of the picture above. This image had made a big impression on me because I’d bought the book right after freshman year of college/Latin American Sociology 101, where I’d learned all about the brutal military dictatorships and economic disparity of that era. So I always narrowed my eyes a little at these fun loving, aristocratic ladies. It’s funny to think back on it now.

One winter break later, I visited my sister who was studying abroad at the University of Sao Paulo. We paid a visit to her friend Thais’ family in Rio, who had a terrace just like the one above where we welcomed the year 2000 with lots of dancing, triple kisses (one on each cheek is NOT ENOUGH), and a feijoada – just like the one in the book.

Since I was vegetarian, my favorites were maioneise (mai-yo-nay-zee), a Brazilian potato salad with peas and egg; and vinagrete (vee-nay-gret-chee), a Brazilian condiment that is similar to pico de gallo. Their names were also so darn cute and fun to say.

The plan for the party was that I would make Sky’s birthday cake on Thursday. On Friday, after dinner with Sky’s parents, Marcela and I would make the beans, vegan maioneise and mango vinagrete. On Saturday we would finish up- Marcela with the rice, and me with my Colombiana touch: tostones and maduros (savory and sweet fried plantains). The party would start at 3:30pm and at some point we would throw some fish and pineapple skewers on the grill.

One Brazilian…one Colombian…a Latin feast. As the day of the party approached – like a size 2 dress on a size 6 mamasota dancing samba – the seams of our tidy little plan began to unravel.

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