Serious Eats: Recipes

Scooped: Cream Cheese and Guava Swirl Ice Cream

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Alt-Lopez]

When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492 and planted the Spanish flag in the sand, he couldn't have imagined the flood of disease, oppression, and fruit-and-cheese pairings that would follow over the next five centuries.

The Spanish have a long tradition of eating their beloved Manchego cheese with a smear of membrillo, a sweet paste made from quince. As their culinary influence spread to colonies in the Americas, they were adopted and adapted to match local tastes and ingredients.

Cuba and the Dominican Republic, in particular, took the membrillo and Manchego combination and gave it a distinctly Caribbean spin. They replaced the membrillo with guava preserves, and the Manchego with cream cheese, a result of a little culinary colonialism from their big, benevolent neighbor to the north.

The gestalt of the two flavors together is incredible, a completely perfect combination of sweet and tart, creamy and fruity, exotic and familiar.

In ice cream form, it's even more delicious (but what isn't more delicious in ice cream form?) and incredibly easy to make. The ice cream base is adapted from a Cream Cheese Ice Cream recipe from Gourmet magazine (original recipe here) and has no eggs so doesn't require any cooking at all—you throw all the ingredients in a blender, and you're good to go! When you swirl in the guava syrup at the end, after the ice cream comes out of the machine, don't be afraid to lay it on pretty heavily. There's no such thing as too much guava.

About the authors:
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream, the only ice cream company that looks to international political movements for inspiration and donates all of its profits. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He lives above a tofu factory in Manhattan's Chinatown.

Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.

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