Hooray for passion fruit season! With its delicious flavor and aroma, we’re definitely feeling the passion for this tropical fruit. Sometimes eaten fresh, passion fruit is generally best utilized in fillings and sauces and paired with desserts. One dessert that’s always foolproof comes in the form of one of our favorite kinds of cakes–cheesecake! The combination of creamy, velvety smooth cheesecake paired with the sweet-tart pulp and crunchy seeds of passion fruit makes for one memorable confection. This cheesecake itself is incorporated with fresh mangoes and passion fruit juice and sandwiched between a buttery and crunchy graham cracker crust and exquisite passion fruit glaze. The result is one heavenly sweet treat that tastes of the summertime in a tropical place far, far away.
With its wrinkled, dimpled appearance, passion fruit may look a little unusual on the outside. However, on the inside lies a lovely jellied golden-flesh that’s filled with edible seeds. The flavor is both sweet and tart and also slightly acidic, comparable to that of the guava fruit. This fruit is found in both tropical and semitropical regions such as parts of South America, Australia, Hawaii, Florida and more. In New Zealand, passion fruit is purple while in Hawaii, the variety is golden-yellow and also known as lilikoi. To enjoy this fruit, simply halve the fruit and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. You can also make passion fruit juice by straining them from the pulp with a fine strainer or cheesecloth and a spoon. The juice can be used in a refreshing cocktail, cooler or sorbet.
Passion Fruit Cheesecake
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
For the cheesecake
- 1 pound of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup of mangoes, diced
- 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice (about 3 passion fruits)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- 1 teaspoon of lime zest
For the crust
- 1 and 1/2 cups of graham crackers
- 1 and 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
For the passion fruit topping
- Pulp and seeds for 1 passion fruit
- 1 cup of passion fruit juice (about 6 passion fruits)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of powdered unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
1. Begin by making the crust. Place the graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until crushed. Add the butter and process again until well combined. Transfer the crumbs into an 8-inch pan. Use the back of a spoon to press the crumbs onto the bottom of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for around 30 minutes.
2. In a clean food processor, puree the passion fruit juice and mangoes together until the mixture is smooth. Then add the cream cheese and process together.
3. Add the sugar, cornstarch and yogurt to the mixture and pulse together. Then add the lime juice, lime zest and eggs and pulse together again. The mixture should be smooth and not over-mixed.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Bake at 325 degrees for around 45 minutes. The center of the cake should still be a bit loose.
5. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and open the oven door for a few minutes. Then, close the door and allow for the cheesecake to continue cooking for around 20 minutes.
6. Remove the cheesecake from the heat. Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Allow for the cake to cool to room temperature for about an hour. Then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for another hour.
7. While the cheesecake cooling, make the passion fruit topping. In a separate bowl, pour in the lime juice and half the passion fruit juice. Add the gelatin on top and allow for the gelatin to bloom. This should take around a minute.
8. In a separate saucepan, boil the other half of the passion fruit juice with the sugar. Whisk in the hot juice into the gelatin mixture.
9. Place this topping into the refrigerator for around 20 minutes. The topping should begin to set. Then add the passion juice pump to the mixture and stir.
10. Pour in the topping on top of the cheesecake. Place the cheesecake back into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and serve the following day.