Experiment: Guava Cheese Tart

I bought guava, from Walmart of all places. It came in a small box of 8 and was very inexpensive. This was a surprising find, especially in the Bay Area where fresh guava is not common at all (at least not in stores like “Whole Foods” and “99 Ranch.” But I think it might be more possible to find in the small Latino grocers).

The guava itself was very tart. Strong with flavor, but too tart for casual eating so I decided… let’s try to turn this into something else!

I found a recipe for Guava Cream Cheese Tart by Food52 and got to work modifying it for a gluten free and dairy free diet.

I also took this opportunity to experiment with a pie crust theory I had using rice flour. Using the same technique of making rice flour dough for ‘pupusa de arroz‘, I combined 1 cup of rice flour with 1/2 cup of hot boiling water. I also added 1/4 cup of oil, more oil than the pupusa recipe requested, with the intent of making a more oily dough that would hopefully crisp and flake in the oven.

This… didn’t work. What I learned from the experiment though, is when rice is mixed with oil alone, it incorporates it into a ‘wet sand’-like dough that comes together, but feels gritty. But when I add hot water to the mix, the rice flour absorbs that and as a result, repels the oil. I thought this would be ok and that having pockets of repelled oil would make the dough become more brittle and crumbly. But in the end, none of that happened. The dough that was exposed to the oven heat just became a hard crisp. The dough hidden below the tart filling was chewy and wouldn’t break apart. It made cutting the tart cleanly pretty much impossible.

In hindsight, this recipe would work REALLY well with a crumbly almond-flour based crust instead of trying to roll out a rice-flour based one. Maybe I should get a tart pan too. One with a removable bottom.

The filling itself was a success. I used Kite Hill plain cream cheese, something I’ve done in the past for my pumpkin cream cheese cake ring, to make it dairy free. And I made a few other modifications to the recipe as well. Not related to making the tart diet-friendly but more about me wanting to experiment more:

  • I was bothered that the recipe asked you to dispose of the seed section of the guava because that’s where the strongest flavor and sweetness is, IMO. So I mashed it and pushed the pulp through a sieve (diluted slightly with maple syrup… water might have been ok?) and mixed it in with the dairy free cream cheese filling. This came out amazing. It wasn’t as noticeable until baked and just gives that cream cheese filling a little more kick to tie it together.
  • I added a whole egg instead of just the egg yolk to the filling as well. I get why they want just an egg yolk, but I hate having leftover parts of egg and I saw no consequence to including the egg white, so I used the whole thing.
  • I added almond extract to the cream cheese instead of the crust. This was just because I screwed up with following instructions. Tasted great though. Almond extract + tart guava is an amazing combination.
  • I didn’t do the crumble top. It sounded too sweet to me and I was concerned it would drown out the guava flavor. Instead I took leftover rice flour dough and made some decorative cuts. Which I won’t be able to do if I switch to almond flour crust so maybe back to that crumble next time?

Once I’ve successfully made a cut-able tart with guava cream cheese, I will share that recipe here.

In the mean time, Link to original recipe: Guava Cream Cheese Tart by Food52.

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