Every cake tells a story, and this passionate cheesecake started with a sweet book.
I love passion fruit, and the first time I encountered this passion fruit was in a cookbook called Sweet (Søtt) by the Norwegian pastry chef Nina Sjøen.
The art of deep-frying ice cream…
I remember the book as very difficult. I had to thoroughly study the recipes to understand them and the book contained daunting tasks such as deep-frying ice cream. This was in the year 2000, long before food blogs and instagram. If you wanted to find a recipe, you had to look in the world of books.
So the book Sweet became my trusted friend in the kitchen teaching me how to master the classic desserts such as tarte tartin, chocolate fondant and French apple tart. I have made almost every sweet dish in the book, and it is particularly one dish I return to, the passion fruit cheesecake.
Easy no-bake cheesecake
In the book Nina Sjøen made the passion fruit cheesecake with three layers: An almond base, a filling with passion fruit and passion fruit jelly on top. I make a simpler version with a biscuit base and cream cheese filling with yoghurt. This is a very easy no-bake cake. I also use shredded coconut in the base to enhance the tropical flavour.
This makes one 20 cm tin or about 6 tartelette sized pies. It is best to use a loose-bottomed tin. When buying passion fruits remember to choose the wrinkled ones.
Cheesecake with passion fruit sauce
20 g / 0,7 oz shredded coconut
60 g / 2,1 oz butter
30 g / 1 oz palm sugar (or brown sugar)
120 g / 4,2 oz digestive biscuits
1 vanilla bean
zest of 1 organic lemon
400 g / 14 oz Philadelphia cream cheese (two packages)
60 g / 2,1 oz icing sugar
500 ml thick/Greek yoghurt
Passion fruit sauce:
8 passion fruits
50 g / 1,7 oz sugar
1 leaf gelatine
1. Toast the coconut in a pan for a few minutes. Place the biscuits in a plastic bag and crush to crumbs with a rolling-pin.
2. Melt the butter in the pan, add sugar and crumbs.
3. Fry on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes while stirring.
4. Transfer to the tin and press down firmly to create an even base. Chill.
1. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean and place in a bowl. Add the lemon zest.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.
3. When the biscuit base is cold, spoon the filling on top of the base with a spatula. Place in the refrigerator.
Passion fruit sauce:
1. Divide the passion fruits and scrape out the pulp with a spoon. Whiz in a food processor a couple of seconds. Place the pulp in a colander placed on top of a pan. Push with a spoon to make the juice.
2. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes.
3. Squeeze the orange juice and add to the pan.
4. Add sugar and bring to boil. Take aside and add the soaked gelatine (remember to squeeze the gelatine first). Stir and let cool for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
Serve the passion fruit sauce on top of the cheesecake or in a mug for each guest to serve themselves.