Brazil is home to many, many amazing fruits, and it shows in their recipes. Many of these fruits are not available in the States (did you know that the cashew fruit makes an amazing juice when sugar is added? Yeah, you're not going to find that in Colorado.), but we do what we can. The typical fresh pineapple juice with muddled mint is an easy enough thing to replicate here at home, for instance, and guava paste can be found in many Latin/ Mexican sections of larger grocery stores now. Thinly sliced guava paste and queso fresco stacked together makes a typically Brazilian snack or a great filling for dessert empanadas (use puff pastry to make it quicker). I tried to combine guava paste with a sweet, spiced bread pudding (an homage to Brazil's obsession with white bread for breakfast), and here's what I got:
Guava Bread Pudding
1 day old baguette cubed (~ 6 cups)
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup guava nectar
1/3 cup butter, plus a little extra to butter the ramekins
zest from one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar, plus sugar for sprinkling
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup guava paste--cut up into chunks
1 cup guava paste--cut into chunks
juice from 1 orange (I used a blood orange)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup guava nectar
Melt the Earth Balance and toss with the cubed bread. Set aside. Whisk eggs, almond milk, coconut milk, orange zest, guava nectar, sugars, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and cardamom. Toss in buttered, cubed bread. Stir to combine. Let the bread soak in the custard mixture for at least 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 4 large ramekins. Slice guava paste into 1/2 inch chunks. Heat 1 kettle of water until boiling. Turn down to medium low to keep warm.
Make the sauce: Heat all sauce ingredients in medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stir frequently until guava paste melts. Once guava paste is melted, cook additional 5 minutes. Keep warm on low heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of sauce to each ramekin. Split bread-custard mixture between the 4 prepared ramekins. Wedge guava paste into the custard mixture. Sprinkle the top of each ramekin lightly with sugar. Add each ramekin to a large baking dish. Fill the baking dish halfway with hot water to create a water bath. Bake in the center of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the middle of bread pudding is set. Let the bread pudding cool slightly (~10-15 minutes) before serving.