Saturday 18 April 2015

Passionfruit Cheesecake

I have loved passionfruit from an early age. This is not exactly shocking information, as I have met few who aren't impressed by its intense acidic, almost perfumed flavour. My own love affair began in my grandmother's garden, for there she grew a sizeable passionfruit vine, a luxury that seems too incredible to fathom. Each year she would carefully wait until the fruit had wrinkled enough to show it was at its peak flavour, then she would scoop out the inside, adding ample sugar to further enhance the flavour, and then can it in small glass jars. These we would wrap carefully and pack into our suitcases to come back across the Pacific Ocean, so that when we were looking for a taste of heaven we could add a spoonful to a scoop of simple vanilla ice cream and thus transform it into something worthy of royalty.

I still get excited whenever I see anything with passionfruit flavour, and I have noticed that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood always give thumbs up to any dessert given to them that contains this marvellous fruit. The only real drawback is its expense - you can't exactly grow it in Scotland, and it is quite pricey if you need the dozen or so fruit required for any recipe.

Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself. My eye had always been caught by a Nigella Lawson recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess for Passionfruit Cheesecake. I can't say I'm a huge fan of cheesecakes that veer away from the traditional New York variety, but this one seemed to be a guaranteed win: Nigella, cheesecake, passionfruit - three strong points in its favour. So finally I added 10 passionfruit to my online shopping order and waited for them to arrive so I could try it out.

I was all ready except for one thing: the springform tin. I had accidentally left mine at work, so I decided to improvise with a tart tin with a removable base. On went the fake Pam to ensure success in the cheesecake's removal:

And into a bag went some digestives. No graham crackers here, peeps.

After I'd taken out my aggression, they looked like this.

Then in went butter. The recipe didn't call for any sugar, but I usually use some and in retrospect think I should have thrown a tablespoon or so in. Live and learn.

The crumbled mix looked like so.

And into the tin it went, pressed down with the bottom of the glass.

Now, I HAD ordered 10 passionfruits, but my husband saw the bag and thought "oooh, I should have some of my 5 a day!" and stole a couple. He claims I should have told him they were for a recipe. I think he should have actually put away the shopping when it came and should have known that a bag of 10 passionfruit, a quantity I have never come close to purchasing before, would naturally be for a special recipe. Thankfully I only needed 7 for the filling itself, so his hide was saved.

So, so pretty. So, so tasty.

And into the big processor they went. I would have used the smaller bowl, but I can't find its blade right now in my chaotic kitchen of doom.

A quick whirrr and they were looking more juicy and less pulpy.

So I whipped up some cream cheese.

Added some sugar.

Mixed some more.

Then added 3 yolks (one at a time, stressing myself with the separating of eggs)

They made it a bit golden.

Then 3 whole eggs went in too.

And were stirred in at this point as it was getting a bit too bubbly for my liking.

The fruit was strained in with some lime juice.

I realise now I could have just added some bottled passionfruit juice here, as it's not too hard to find here and would have been cheaper and easier (and just as flavourful, I think). Next time.

Now just dive in and drink it all...

NO! Wait, I was kidding! GET OUT OF THERE!

Instead it went into the tart case...and there was waaaaay too much, as it is way shallower than a springform tin, so I made some ramekins and a teacup as well. Once they were in the oven I added boiling water to the pan to make a "bain marie". Who was this Marie, and why did she like baths of boiling water?

After a while, the small ones came out. They wiggled like jelly in the middle at the time of removal - this ensures they don't overcook. And oh, yeah, I kind of messed one up when I took it out. Still tasted fine.

Then their mother came out to cool.

They went in the fridge while my husband went out to buy me more passionfruit and thus prevent our divorce. Once he got back, I carefully removed the cheesecake from the tin, ensuring a perfect finish on the cake.

Err...when in doubt, just throw lots of fresh fruit on top.

No, those aren't frog spawn, they are little pieces of heaven, kids.

AND IT'S MINE!!!!!!!!!!!! ALLL MINE!!!!

I'll add the recipe later, when I can move again.

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