• Tori Elyssa Kok

Passionfruit Cheesecake

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This New York style cheesecake is everything and more! Velvety smooth, with a tangy cream cheese flavour, it's sweetened with white chocolate only. The passionfruit brings a welcome refresher that cuts through all the indulgence.

This cheesecake recipe was born because we had leftover passionfruit. We bought them to make some pornstar martinis (my favourite cocktail), but then we just forgot to make them and the weekend was gone! The passionfruit, by then, were perfectly wrinkled and ripe, so I instantly knew I had to use them in a bake. I love combining them with sweetness, and what's sweeter than white chocolate? I don't know about you, but I think white chocolate needs to be paired with a lot of tanginess to provide the right balance. So a white chocolate and passionfruit cheesecake was born.

I had so much fun with the photography of this cheesecake. I shot pictures in a style quite different to my usual: some of the photos are almost stil-life like. I even got the chance to shoot some pictures in direct light, which is quite daunting for a beginner photographer like myself. But I was really pleased with the results. I also used backlighting for the first time ever, so this shoot was a big learning curve!

Passionfruit and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings. Prep time: 30 minutes. Baking time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Cooling time: 2 hours. Fridge time: minimum 6 hours.

Equipment

  • 20 cm loose-bottomed spring form/cake tin

  • rolling pin or food processor (either will do)

  • standing mixer or hand mixer (either will do)

  • medium and large mixing bowls

Ingredients - Base

  • 180 grams digestive biscuits

  • 70 grams melted unsalted butter

Ingredients - Filling

  • 375 grams full-fat cream cheese (like Philadelphia in the UK, or Monchou in the Netherlands)

  • 375 grams melted white chocolate (35% cacao solids)

  • 225 grams soured cream

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1/2 tsp orange zest

  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds of one vanilla bean

  • 1 tbsp Passoa liquor (optional)

Ingredients - Topping

  • pulp of 3 passionfruit, total weight 95 grams

  • 25 ml Passoa

  • 25 grams white granulated sugar

  • 60 ml water

  • 3 grams vege gel powder (or 1.5 tsp gelatin powder)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. If you prefer a darker crust, preheat to 170 degrees Celsius.

  2. Liberally grease the sides of a 20 cm loose-bottomed spring form with butter, and put parchment paper on the bottom.

  3. Start with preparing the cheesecake crust. Melt the butter and set aside.

  4. Put the digestive biscuits in a sealable plastic bag and crush them up completely with a rolling pin. Alternatively, blitz them up in a food processor.

  5. Combine the melted butter and crushed biscuits in a medium mixing bowl.

  6. Press the butter and biscuits mix into the bottom of a 20 cm cake tin. Really squash it down. You can use the bottom of a cup to assist you. Also really press it into the sides, but not too far up to sides.

  7. Bake the cheesecake crust for 15 minutes in the middle of the oven. Set aside to cool when done.

  8. Start preparing the filling while the cheesecake crust bakes. Melt the white chocolate, in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring in between. Or melt the chocolate au bain marie: put the white chocolate (either chips, discs, or broken into chunks from a bar) in a medium glass bowl and place over a pan simmering with water. Make sure the water does not touch the bowl. Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

  9. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth (no more than a minute). You can do this in a standing mixer (I recommend the balloon whisk), or with a hand mixer, or by hand if you have strong biceps.

  10. Add the eggs to the cream cheese one by one, making sure they are incorporated properly before adding the next one.

  11. Add the soured cream, vanilla bean paste or seeds, orange zest, and the Passoa if using. Mix to combine for a minute. The balloon whisk on a standing mixer will do a great job at removing any lumps.

  12. Add the melted white chocolate and mix another minute.

  13. Transfer the filling to the cake tin, on top of the baked crust.

  14. Place an oven safe dish with just off-the-boil water in the bottom of the oven preheated at 150 degrees Celsius. The steam will reduce the chances of the top of the cheesecake cracking.

  15. Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for between 1 hour and 10 minutes and 1 hour and 20 minutes. The sides should be set, but the middle should still have a slight wobble.

  16. Turn off the oven and place a wooden spoon in between the oven door and the oven so it stays open slightly. Let the cheesecake cool for an hour like this in the oven. Allowing the cheesecake to cool down slowly will prevent cracking on the top.

  17. Place the cheesecake on the counter for an hour to cool to room temperature.

  18. Prepare the topping if using. You can just scoop the pulp from the passionfruit on top if you are low on time. But if you want the shiny, jelly-like top, follow along. The instructions below are for vege gel, a vegetarian gelatin. If you want to use normal powdered gelatin, make sure you follow the instructions on the package.

  19. Combine all the ingredients for the topping in a small saucepan, make sure they are cold. If you don't want to use Passoa, you can use more passionfruit pulp, or orange juice.

  20. Place the saucepan over a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil whilst stirring. Let it simmer for one minute, then take off the heat.

  21. Let the mixture cool down for 5 minutes, then pour onto the top of the cheesecake. It will start to set very quickly already, so smooth it out as fast as you can.

  22. Cover the cheesecake and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.

  23. To serve, make sure you loosen the cheesecake from the side of a tin using a knife or spatula.

FAQ/Troubleshooting

What is Passoa and do I need to use it?

Passoa is a passionfruit liquor. You can use any brand passionfruit liquor you want. If you would rather not use alcohol, you can simply swap the Passoa for more passionfruit pulp, or even some orange juice.

What sort of cream cheese should I buy?

Cream cheese varies from country to country. The type I used to buy in the Netherlands for example is not available in the UK. If you are in the UK, just plain Philadelphia is a good option. Or you can buy any unbranded cream cheese, sometimes called "soft cheese". Just make sure it is full-fat! In the Netherlands, "Monchou" is a good option.

Can I use a different biscuit to digestive?

Absolutely. I recommend Biscoff as well - they are a great option. Or ginger nuts! Or if you are in the Netherlands, "Bastogne" biscuits are very common for cheesecakes, but I have never seen them in the UK.

What sort of white chocolate should I use?

I used white chocolate melts, which are like discs. They contained 35% cacao solids. But you can just buy chocolate bars and break them up into pieces. But as with anything, the better the quality of the chocolate, the better your bake!

Where do I buy passionfruit?

Not all supermarkets will sell them. In the UK, larger Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury's sell them. You can also find them regularly in fruit and veg markets. If you really cannot find fresh ones, you can buy passionfruit pulp or passionfruit juice online and use this.

Help! The top of my cheesecake has cracked.

Do not despair. The great thing about the topping of the cheesecake, is that it will cover up cracks. It is very common for cheesecake tops to crack, especially if you are not baking them in a water bath. My method of introducing some steam and letting the cheesecake cool down slowly works for me - I did not get any cracks. But if you really want to avoid any cracks, next time, bake the cheesecake in a water bath.

Help! My cheesecake did not set properly.

I am not 100% sure why this happened, as it could be due to a number of things. You may have got some of the measurements wrong, or maybe you underbaked the cheesecake. I think the latter is the most plausible. Try leaving it in the fridge longer (overnight) and see if that helps.

Let me know on Instagram if you try this recipe, or if you have any questions!


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