Bringing this Cuban inspired Guava Cream Cheese Swirl Ice Cream to your home this summer. Rich cream cheese ice cream with swirls of guava jam and crushed Maria cookies. It may just be the BEST ice cream I have ever made!
Summer is here! At least, that’s what I have been told. It has been really gloomy, cool and occasionally drizzling in Los Angeles in the past few weeks. We rarely got a glimpse of the sun. It’s called “June Gloom”. Hoping it will start to clear up soon. I’m ready for summer, so here is a summer recipe for you.
This recipe is inspired by my recent visit to Miami. I went to Little Havana for a Cubano (Cuban sandwich) and walked around for a bit after lunch. I noticed this giant ice cream cone store front, so I went in. It’s an ice cream shop called Azucar Ice Cream Company. There are many Cuban flavors, like flan caramela (caramel flan), platano maduro (sweet plantain), and cafe con leche (Cuban coffee & Oreo). It was hard decision, but I went with abuela Maria (guava, cream cheese & Maria cookies). It was really good, so I have recreated my version at home.
Guava and cheese is a classic Cuban combo. The sweet guava jam is an excellent pairing with the creamy mild cream cheese. If you have been to a Cuban bakery, you may have tried guava & cream cheese pastries. They’re crispy puff pastries filled with sweetened cream cheese and guava jam. No doubt it’s my favorite treat from Cuban bakery.
Maria cookie is one of the favorite cookies in Latin America. They’re originally from London, but have become very popular in Spain and Portugal. And it eventually arrived in Latin America. These cookies are round, thin and hard with a mild vanilla flavor. They’re not too sweet which is great to use in baking or pairing with other things.
For this ice cream, I chose a cream cheese flavor base. It’s rich, creamy with a mild cream cheese taste and a little savoriness. First, cut the cream cheese into little cubes and let them sit at room temperature for a bit. Then, work on the custard with milk, cream, sugar, and eggs. When the custard is ready, add the cream cheese and whisk into it. Stir in some lemon juice and vanilla at the end. Don’t forget to strain the mixture before going into fridge. That is the base.
Next, move on to the guava jam. I got guava paste and thinned it out with water over the stove. It became a thick jam. If your jam is too sweet, you can add a little bit lemon juice. My was just right, so I didn’t add anything extra. Keep in the fridge under cold.
When everything is ready, churn the custard in the ice cream machine until set. Swirl in guava jam and crushed Maria cookies. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Scoop and serve.
Bryan didn’t get to try the ice cream in Miami, so when he tried my version, he was blown away. He absolutely loves all the flavors together and we have been eating it for the past week. It’s very creamy with the sweet and tart from guava, the vanilla-y from the cookies and the savory cream cheese flavor. So satisfying! Definitely give this a try and let me know what you think!
Guava Cream Cheese Swirl Ice Cream
- 12 ounces cream cheese
- 2¼ cups whole milk
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs (beaten until just blended)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 Maria cookies (crushed into about ½-inch pieces)
- 4 ounces guava paste
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons water
- lemon juice (if needed)
- Cut the cream cheese into small cubes. Let sit at room temperature when preparing other ingredients.
- In a medium saucepan, combine milk and heavy cream. Cook over medium heat. Bring mixture just to a simmer (175˚F), about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the beaten eggs into a medium mixing bowl. While whisking the eggs, slowly pour in a little bit of hot cream. Whisk to mix and add more. Whisk again. Pour in about half of hot cream. Then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream. Return the pot over medium heat and cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon (at least 160˚F), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Whisk in cream cheese until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Strain the ice cream base through a fine mesh sieve into an airtight container. Cool mixture at room temperature for 15 minutes. Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, prepare the guava jam. Cut the paste into thin slices. Add to a small saucepan with the water. Cook over medium heat until the paste has dissolved. Reduced heat if needed. It should look like a thick jam. If the jam is too thick, add a little bit more water. If your jam tastes too sweet, add a little bit of lemon juice. Transfer to a heat proof container and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to make ice cream, pour the custard base into an ice-cream maker by following the ice-cream maker instruction. When the ice cream is done, add the jam and crushed cookies and mix together for a few times. Do not over mix. Transfer the ice cream to an ice cream container. Cover and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
- When whisking the cream cheese into the custard, you may notice tiny bits of cream cheese floating to the top no matter how long you have whisked. Don’t worry. They will be strained out.
- Guava paste can be found in most Latin supermarkets or online.
- Maria cookies (aka Marie cookies) can be found in Latin aisle in most regular supermarkets, Latin markets or online.