As pastry chef Paola Velez points out in the latest episode of Pastries with Paola, guava and cheese are an iconic duo — and she’s combining the two in a recipe for guava and cheese bread pudding, which originated with her husband’s 101-year-old grandmother. In one pan, a spiced custard, cubed sourdough bread, cream cheese, guava paste, and homemade caramel all come together to form a glorious dessert.
“It’s like flan and bread pudding had a baby, and it’s delicious,” she says.
The recipe does require a little bit of patience (mostly when waiting for the bread pudding to chill), but the end results are well, well worth it. Read on for Paola’s step-by-step method.
Start with the Bread Custard
First, you’ll need to make the custard, consisting of eggs, sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweetened condensed milk, and evaporated milk. Once it’s smooth and ready to go, you’ll take your sourdough bread cubes and mix them by hand into the custard, ensuring each piece is coated so it can soak up the liquid.
Next — Caramel Two Ways
Paola coats the bottom of a buttered 9 X 13-inch baking dish with homemade caramel to make the cheese bread pudding resemble flan, and there are two ways you can prepare it. She first demonstrates the wet caramel technique (used in the recipe), which calls for heating both sugar and water on the stovetop. For the dry technique, you just use sugar, and although it’s quicker, it’s also easier to burn.
Layer the Bread Pudding
After cubing up some guava paste — Paola recommends spraying the knife with food spray, since it’s sticky — she gets ready to build the bread pudding. She pours the caramel into the baking dish first, tilting it to spread it around evenly, and then ladles in some of the bread-custard mixture, forming an even layer. The guava and cream cheese go on next, dotted all around on top of the bread. Then, you repeat with a second layer of the bread-custard mixture, guava, and cream cheese, adding the remaining custard-soaked bread as the final layer. Once she’s done building, Paola takes some of the custard liquid left in the bowl and pours it on top to finish the bread pudding off.
Bake and Chill
Take the bread pudding and cover it with foil, and then, get it into a water bath in the preheated 375°F (190.5 degrees Celcius) oven (this will help it gently cook and prevent curdling). When the middle of the pudding is set, which should take about one hour and 35 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes, allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack before placing it in the fridge to chill. Give it at least three hours in there, or up to overnight.
Flip and Enjoy
After the pudding has chilled, all that’s left is to do is unmold it from the pan (an offset spatula comes in handy here) and invert it onto a serving plate. If you’d like, you can add fresh fruit on top when you serve.
“It tastes creamy,” Paola says. “The layers of the sourdough give it a tang. The guava is so good. Oh my god, and this cream cheese and that caramel on top, it just adds the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the sweetness in the guava.”
This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Lydia Purcell)
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