Casquitos de Guayaba (which literally means "guava peels") is a Cuban dessert. Although not a Bolivian food, I'm including it in our Bolivian recipes section because I learned to make this dessert from Cuban friends who live in Bolivia and guavas are widely available in Bolivia during the proper seasons. It is VERY easy to make, but you'll be surprised at how they serve it, especially since it is a dessert. Read on:
The peelings from 10 ripe, pink guavas cut with some guava fruit still on them
1 cup of fine white sugar
Juice from 1/2 a lemon (no seeds)
6 tablespoons of water
1/2 pound of firm, white cheese
(Can be high quality fresh mozzarella balls - these usually come in a jar with water, or fresh goat cheese, or any of the moist Mexican cheese rounds like cotija or queso fresco. Any white, soft, moist cheese will do, as long as it is not mushy or crumbly like ricotta. It's your choice.) Preparation
Wash your guavas whole, with a brush and liquid disinfectant. Liquid soap works just as well, as long as you rinse them completely and it leaves no soap residue on the fruit.
Cut the peelings from your guavas, leaving a thin layer of pink guava flesh on the peeling (see photo). Be sure there are no guava seeds at all.
Although you will use only the guava peels in this recipe, do not discard the guava fruit itself. You can use it to make delicious guava jam
Place the casquitos de guayaba (guava peels) in a pot. Add sugar, water and lemon juice. Stir until all of the guava peels are evenly coated and covered.
Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the water and sugar have formed a nice thick syrup and the guava peels have softened. Stir occasionally to ensure that as the syrup thickens, it doesn't burn or stick to the pot.
The guava peels will soften to a nice, moist texture and the fruit that is left on the peel will combine with the water, sugar and lemon to form a light, fruity syrup.
Remove from heat. Cool completely. Serve your sweet guava peels drizzled in their own syrup on a small plate, with a few pieces of cheese on the side.
You may be surprised that Cubans eat this sweet syrup-y treat with cheese. It's an absolutely amazing and surprisingly delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors. Enjoy!