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Guava Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs or digestive biscuit crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
2 Tbs sugar

1 cup guava paste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sugar or to taste
4 extra-large eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 Tbs grated lemon zest

1/4 cup red currant jelly
1 Tbs water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Prepare the crust. Mix together the cookie crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl to form a crumbly dough. Press the dough over the bottom and up the side of the springform pan. Bake the crust until almost dry, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Melt the guava paste in the lemon juice in a nonreactive heavy saucepan, whisking steadily, over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated before adding the next, and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat in the vanilla, lemon zest, and melted guava paste. Correct the flavorings, adding sugar to suit your taste. Pour the filling into the prepared pan.

Bring 1 quart of water to boil. Wrap a sheet of aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the springform pan to prevent water from seeping in. Place the pan in a large roasting pan and pour in 1 inch of boiling water.

Bake the cheesecake until the top is firm and the filling no longer jiggles when the pan is shaken, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If the top of the cheesecake starts to brown before the filling sets, tent the cake with aluminum foil. When the cake is done, turn off the heat, open the oven door a few inches and let the cheese cake cool for 20 minutes. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Prepare the glaze: Melt the red currant jelly in the water in a small saucepan, whisking steadily, over medium heat, until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream. thin with additional water, if necessary. Gently brush the top of the cheesecake with the glaze. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, run a slender knife around the sides of the springform pan. Remove the sides and serve.

Yield: 10 Servings

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