Last week I went to bed dreaming about dessert. Specifically guava cheesecake. I also went to bed with nerves. A LOT of nerves. The RSVP list kept climbing. Which in theory is great, but when you are the sole person responsible for the dessert bar, you get a little anxious. And when that list hits 400, you freak out. An e-mail was sent to the staff: do not under any circumstances try to use the kitchen today. This was serious. The kitchen was mine! It all starts the day before. I prep doughs and I create a game plan breaking down each hour leading up to the event. These are the days I don’t even need coffee, I just run on pure adrenaline. You would think 11 hours is plenty, but that kind of time on event day flies by. I knew I wanted to create a beautiful dessert bar with plenty of options, shapes and flavors.
Mini Apple Pies
Mini Pumpkin Pies w/ Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
S’mores Cookie Bars
Mini Cheesecakes w/ Guava Swirl
Creamy Cheesecake Tarts w/ Guava Swirl: makes 2 small tarts
1-package graham crackers (9 sheets=1 individual package)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. lemon juice or grapefruit juice
Fresh fruit to garnish
1 can guava shells in heavy syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place graham crackers in a large sealable bag and crush using a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.
- In a medium bowl mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined. Spoon into mini tart pans, pressing firmly as you go. You might not need all the crumbs. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
- Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla extract, condensed milk and lemon/grapefruit juice. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed.
- Add Greek yogurt and beat for an additional minute. Set aside.
- Drain guava shells of MOST of the heavy syrup, reserving a little bit to use. Blend guava shells with a little syrup until smooth. If you are having trouble with the blender, add a splash of water. Set aside.
- To make the tart: fill the center of the crust with the cheesecake filling until it reaches the top of the crust. Place small circles of guava purée in a circle pattern around the tart. Take a toothpick and drag it gently through the center of each circle, connecting them and making a pattern of hearts. Garnish with fresh fruit and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
- Store extra guava purée in the fridge.