Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guayaba con Queso Crema Muffins

It is no secret that I believe that Guayaba is Ambrosia of the Gods with Cafe Cubano being their Nectar. I never realized how much I loved it until it wasn't readily available.  As a little girl, my Abuelo would get up every Saturday morning and walk to the bakery on the next block and bring home pastelitos and pan cubano.  My sister and I would wake up to Abuela banging on pots (more on this later) with our cafe con leches at the ready.
Anyone up for a colada?

Abuelo would be waiting with a smile on his face holding that familiar white box seeming as if this treat he had for us was the most important thing in his life at that very moment. Looking back, it probably was.  We were each allowed to pick two pastries each.  My sister always chose the pastel de queso and something else.  I honestly don't remember because I was always too engrossed in my choice that could make my mouth water just thinking about it: un pastel de carne y uno de guayaba. I still smile at the memories.

You mean I can only have one?

As we grew older, and he in turn grew older, the pastelitos became less frequent.  Mami took over the pastel run, and let's be honest...I don't think she put as much heart in it. I'm not knocking her effort, it just seems like she'd fill the box a lo loca. Sometimes, by the time I got to box, all that was left were those triangular shaped ones.  You know, el pastel de guayaba con queso. Yes, they had my beloved guayaba in them...but I wasn't sold on the cheese. I've always been sort of freakish when it comes to my dairy goods, so anything that is a dairy product and is left al aire really gives me the heebie jeebies. I sucked it up one fine Saturday morning and grabbed one.  I nuked it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and took a bite.  Oh wow! The party in my mouth was indescribable.  Why on Earth had I ignored this deliciousness for so long? Who was the evildoer that had kept me in the dark this long? That didn't matter.  What mattered was that I had a new love. Now, every time I visit the family in Miami, I ask for three things: un cafe, pan cubano and un pastel de guayaba con queso. 

Although I am blessed with non-material riches in abundance -- the material kind is what can get me to Miami as frequently as possible.  If it were up to me, I'd be there at least once a month. Alas, those riches are a bit scarce so I am oftentimes left longing for some of the goodies I grew up with.

Why am I telling this to you, my loyal readers?  Well, it is merely to segue into the first official recipe from my cocina into yours!

Mi Gringito loves guayaba almost as much as I do, it seems, so he always get an extra skip to his step when he sees I've been experimenting. This isn't the first recipe I've conjured with guayaba, but La Suegra came home the other day super excited because she had found a grocery store in the next town over that had, and I quote, "A huge Hispanic aisle," -- my response, "I will be the judge of that!" She had bought me a few things and I will admit, this establishment had piqued my interest.  She brought home some frozen empanadas, a cube of guayaba paste, and an itty-bitty bottle of mojo. Seeing the cube of guayaba paste, my brain started to churn.  I recently made a cream-cheese stuffed carrot cake muffin.  I knew that I could use the basics of that recipe  to make the foundation of what I was building in my noggin.  I'm sure that by the time I got home from dropping off Mi Gringito at work, my ears were smoking!

Guayaba con Queso Crema Muffins

Vanilla Extract
Lime Juice
1/4 C Sugar
8oz Whipped Cream Cheese
1/4 C Oil
1 Medium Egg
1 C Milk
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 C Flour
Coarse Sparkling Sugar

Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a 12-muffin tin with paper cups or well-oil the actual tin.

In a small bowl, combine the whipped cream cheese, 1/4 c of sugar, 1 tsp of lime juice and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.  Mix well. Set aside.

Must resist urge to curl up with this and a spoon!

Cut three slices from the guava cube approximately half an inch each.  Cut those slices in four equal chunks.  You should now have 12 separate half inch cubes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oil, egg, milk, sugar, salt & 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well with a fork or wire whisk.

Measure in the baking powder and flour. Mix again until all of the dough particles are moistened. Do not over mix (approximately 20-30 strokes should do it).

Spoon approximately 1 Tbsp of the batter into each of the muffin cups.

Place a guava cube in the center of each muffin.

Top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. You will have some mixture left over. (YAY!!!)

Cover with remaining muffin batter to fill the muffin cups quite full.

Scatter the tops of the muffins with the coarse sugar.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes.

Remove the muffins from the oven and immediately tilt them in their cups.

Do you see the cheese oozing out?!?

And Viola!  This recipe is 100% Mi Gringito approved!  Tell me what you think!

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