A slight twist on the cheesecake, inspired by one of the goodies served to us when having Afternoon Tea recently. I often get inspiration while eating out and it was fun trying to recreate the feel of this sweet at home.
These have crumbly, buttery shortbread bases with a bit of toasted coconut, topped with domes of fresh mango cheesecake with a kick of lime, coated in a fragrant and sharp passionfruit jelly.
The cheesecake filling:
The cheesecake here is soft and almost mousse-like. I have gone for an Italian meringue which gets folded through the mango mixture.
I put a little amount of mango purée with passion fruit juice into the centre of each cheesecake – this gives a little extra burst of fruity sharpness and oozes out as you cut into the cheesecake. However, you can omit this completely or instead use some small chunks of mango that has been stirred around with fresh lime juice and a touch of sugar – in which case, pop these into the cheesecakes prior to freezing.
You will not need to use all of the meringue, but any left over is fantastic just baked to give deliciously crisp meringue nibbles. Alternatively you can mix the meringue with desiccated coconut, shape them and coat in chocolate for a home-made version of Bounty bars.
The base is suitably crumbly so that it cuts well with a spoon or a fork: I’m not a fan of those cheesecakes that, as soon as you try to cut into it, has a base that is so firm that the cheesecake flies across the plate! For the base here I crushed some shortbread biscuits I had baked a couple of days earlier and added a little toasted coconut for added flavour.
These are great served just as they are, with a generous drizzling of the lime and chilli syrup to make these even more special. As these are quite small, 2 per person as a dessert must surely be in order?
The amounts below will make about 20 individual servings, but you can scale down the ingredients. That said, I froze some of the fully glazed cheesecakes and they have been fine, with the jelly glaze and the filling easily holding their shape after defrosting. I just take them out of the freezer a couple of hours before serving. Mind you, eating them frozen, parfait-style, works very well.
You can instead just make up one large cheesecake, un-domed: layer of base, layer of cheesecake, thin layer of mango purée and passionfruit, layer of cheesecake, top layer of passionfruit glaze.
Mango & passionfruit cheesecake domes – makes 20
For the base:
- 150g shortbread biscuits, crushed
- 80g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon lightly toasted desiccated coconut
For the cheesecake:
- 350g ripe mango, puréed weight (about 2 large mangoes)
- juice and grated zest of 3 limes
- 400g cream cheese
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml water
For the passion fruit glaze:
- juice of 9 passionfruit
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 4 sheets of leaf gelatine
For the lime & chilli syrup for drizzling, optional
- 200g caster sugar
- 200ml water
- 1 small red chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped
- grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- glazed or dried mango slices
- lime & chilli syrup
You will also need small silicon cake pop moulds (I used 5cm diameter moulds)
(1) Make the lime & chilli syrup, if using: bring the water, caster sugar, chilli and the lime zest to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes until it goes syrupy. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Leave to cool. The syrup can either be strained or left with the flecks of chilli in. You won’t need all of this syrup but it will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for a month or so.
(2) Mix the shortbread, coconut and butter together until well combined. Spoon into a metal ring with diameter slightly larger than the diameter of the cake pop moulds. Press down a little but do not compact too much. Carefully remove the ring and repeat with the rest of the biscuit mix until you have 20 biscuit base discs.
(3) Mix the cream cheese with the lime juice and all but a tablespoon of the mango purée. Mix this remaining tablespoon of the mango purée with a tablespoon of the passionfruit juice and set aside.
(4) Make Italian meringue: bring the water, sugar and lime zest to boil and allow to boil until it reaches 115C. Just before it reaches this temperature whisk the whites with an electric whisk for about a minute until very foamy. Once the syrup is at temperature, pour it slowly over the egg whites, whisking for about 5 minutes until thick and glossy. Leave to cool.
(5) Fold a little of the meringue into the mango and cream cheese mixture until well combined. Gradually fold in more of the meringue until you get a texture that is like a gently whipped cream. You might not need all of the meringue but any surplus can be baked off.
(6) Put into cake pop moulds and freeze for about an hour or two until firm. Scoop out a little of the mango cheesecake from the middle of each of the cheesecakes and fill with the mango and passionfruit mixture, aiming for a flat surface. Put back in the freezer until very firm.
(7) Remove the cheesecakes from their moulds and, using a knife that has been dipped in very hot water, smooth the flat surfaces and stick two halves together. Lightly flatten the bottom of the spheres with the knife so that the spheres can stand freely. Pop back in the freezer while you make the glaze. They can be left like this for months!
NB: for petits fours, you can just use the halves of the cheesecake rather than “sticking” two together to form spheres.
(8) Make the passionfruit glaze: soak the gelatine in cold water for about 5 minutes then squeeze out the excess moisture.
(9) Make the passionfruit juice up to 250ml with any of the remaining mango purée: if necessary, add a little water or even pineapple juice to get to this volume. Heat a little of this juice with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the gelatine to this hot juice and stir until dissolved. Mix this into the remaining passion fruit juice and pour into a small and fairly deep container such as a mug. Leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes until starting to set.
NB: a small, deeper container makes it easier to dip the frozen cheesecake spheres into as you can then completely submerge them. The glaze does need to be slightly set so that you immediately get a nice thickness of coating when you dip the frozen cheesecakes into it.
(10) Using a couple of cocktail sticks – one to poke into the cheesecakes for easy dipping and one to prise the cheesecakes back off – dip the frozen cheesecake spheres into the glaze, coating completely. Place on greaseproof, flattened side down, and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to set further. Dip the spheres for a second time and place back on greaseproof. Pop a bit of glazed or dried mango on top of each and put a sphere of glazed cheesecake onto each base: they will stick to their base.
(11) Put the cheesecakes in the fridge for a couple of hours until defrosted, at which point the filling will have returned to a soft, moussey texture and will have held their shape. Serve with a drizzle of the lime & chilli syrup, if using. They will sit quite happily in the fridge for a couple of days.