For the crust:
30 galletas Maria (about 2 cups), well ground but not powdery
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 ½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 14.5 ounce can poached guava shells, well drained
2 tablespoons orange juice
Freshly grated zest from one large orange
1 tablespoon dark rum
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
Optional glaze and decoration:
¼ cup guava jelly
4 oz. guava paste
8-9″ springform pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a springform pan and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cracker crumbs and melted butter until the mixture holds together. Fill the prepared pan with the crumb mixture and press into the bottom of the pan to form the crust. If necessary, use a measuring cup to level the bottom. Bake 9-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely. Tightly wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the guava shells, orange juice, zest and room in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed till smooth about one minute. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 5 additional minutes. Reduce speed and blend in guava-orange mixture and flour. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each additional and periodically scraping down the sides of the bowl until combined. Pour the filling into the prepared pan.
To prepare the baño de María, place the pan in a larger baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the mold. Carefully place both pans in the oven and bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and cool in the oven for an additional hour. Remove from oven and chill for at least four hours or overnight.
Cut guava paste in 1/4″ thick slices. Using small aspic cutter, punch out small forms in desired shapes from guava paste as additional decoration. Press into the surface of the cheesecake.
Heat guava jelly over medium heat until melted, about 3-5 minutes. Lightly brush top of the cake with glaze.
Slice and serve.