Brazilian Romeu e Juliete Cheesecake Recipe
Brazilian guava cheesecake is a refreshing spin on its American cousin, which typically uses cream cheese and a graham cracker crust. In Brazil, the guava cheesecake uses a dense, salty cheese known as minas gerais. It is paired with a sweet guava paste on top of a crisp, flour-based crust.
The pairing of cheese and guava paste in Brazil is known as Romeu e Juliete. The salty cheese represents Romeo, and the sweet guava is Juliet. Like the passion between Shakespeare’s tragic lovers, savory and sweet are at their pinnacle in this surprising dish.
Because minas gerais is not readily available in the US, we will be substituting it with another mild-tasting cheese: Mexican queso blanco. You may also substitute it with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, or Brazilian cream cheese.
The guava paste, known as goiabada in Brazil, can be found at most Latin markets or purchased online. When canned, it has a consistency similar to American jellied cranberry sauce. The taste is much less tart, however, with many likening its flavor to a blend between a pineapple and a strawberry.
Gluten Free Guava Cheesecake
Our recipe will be using a flour-based crust, but you can certainly substitute the flour with almond flour or another gluten free alternative. Just be sure to refer to the packaging for portion information. Some gluten free flours, such as coconut flour, require less volume and certain additives (like eggs) for them to work in the same manner as all purpose flour.
Alternatively, you can simply leave out the crust entirely. Simply slice up a little fresh cheese and alternate it with slices of the sweet guava paste on a cheeseboard for a fast and delicious hors d’oeuvre. Think of it as a Brazilian caprese salad!
Graham Cracker Crust for Guava Cheesecake?
If you prefer a graham cracker crust, go ahead! Remember that the guava paste is very sweet, and the graham cracker crust will only add to the overall sweetness. That being said, a graham cracker crust is much easier and faster to make than a flour crust, so it may be the way to go if you are in a hurry!
To make a simple graham cracker crust, combine 1.5 cups of graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup of sugar, and 3 oz of melted butter. Press the mixture into a standard, 8-inch pie plate. Chill for an hour before filling or bake for about 8 minutes at 375 degrees.
Can I Use Pre-Grated Cheese for Guava Cheesecake?
We don’t recommend using pre-grated or sliced cheese for this recipe, since it may contain additives (like cornstarch) that will affect the overall texture and taste of the dish.
Guava Cheesecake Recipe (Romeu e Juliete)
For the crust:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1 oz sugar
⅔ cup butter (unsalted)
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
16 oz fresh queso blanco, cubed or shredded
14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of two limes
For the topping:
1 ¼ cups guava paste
⅓ cups water
1 oz cachaca or spiced rum
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine all pie crust ingredients and mix using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. You can also use your forks or hands to help distribute the butter evenly. Although this crust is a little less fussy than a traditional pie shell, you still want to avoid over mixing.
- Spread the crust mixture evenly on the bottom of a cheesecake or spring-form pan. If you have enough crust, spread a little of the mixture up the sides of the pan.
- Put your queso blanco, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and lime zest into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Pour the mixture over the crust in your springform pan. Don’t worry about filling the pan to the very top-there is no rising agent, so it shouldn’t spill over. However, you can leave about half an inch of space from the top just to be safe.
- Bake your cake for about 40 minutes (until you can insert a knife and it comes out clean). Put the cake aside to cool for at least one hour.
- When the cake is cool, prepare the topping. Heat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Put in the guava paste and water and heat until the paste is melted and combined with the water. Then, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the cachaca or spiced rum.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly, then pour it over the cheesecake (still in the spring-form).
- Place the guava cheesecake in its pan in the refrigerator to set overnight. Then, remove it from the spring-form pan and serve with fresh lime zest and wedges for garnish.
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