Bored with lemons, oranges, apples and pears, I decided to experiment with something more exotic and discovered a new passion for the… passion fruit. Passion fruit macarons are one of my beloved Pierre Hermé’s creations, passion fruit chocolates are made by many chocolatiers in my city, passion fruit daiquiri is one of my favourite cocktails… and yet, I have never tried making a passion fruit dessert on my own. This first attempt felt like uncovering a whole new world of exciting culinary adventures. Topping a simple unbaked cheesecake with passion fruit pulp cannot really be called elaborate work in the kitchen, but it proved one of the most astonishing experiments I have ever made. The powerful, irresistible fragrance, the tangy flavour and crunchy seeds paired with the creamy, silky cheesecake created a complex and unusual combination. Since it was also one of the easiest and quickest sweet treats I know, I predict a bright future for this wonderful match, at least until strawberries appear.
I have already shared with you my enthusiasm about the unbaked cheesecake (see below). It becomes a staple in my house, especially when the weather gets warm and light, refreshing desserts are more welcome. I haven’t written about it for quite a long time, so here is a quick explanation of the unbaked cheesecakes I prepare. My unbaked – and also baked – cheesecakes have both Polish origins, i.e. they are not made with US cream cheese, but with natural fresh cheese (called curd cheese, quark or fromage frais). In the unbaked version this cheese is very smooth and can easily be substituted with Greek yogurt, similar in both taste and texture.
Apart from the taste, the main reason why I prepare unbaked cheesecakes so often is their healthy side: contrary to the US-style cheesecakes, these are low-fat, low-calorie and, I think, can be proposed to people on a slimming diet. I also love them for their instantly recognisable, slightly tangy taste and a light texture, close to a very dense mousse. In my opinion the basic unbaked cheesecake preparation (cheese, gelatin and sugar) is an excellent basis to play with different fruits, aromatic alcohols, spices and other seasonings (some cover them with a thick layer of fruit jelly, the item I have never liked). Many people prepare also a crust, but since I don’t like it in either baked or unbaked cheesecakes, I always omit it. Thanks to this my cheesecakes are even lighter and quicker to prepare. This slightly acid passion fruit version was excellent, but if you don’t like tangy sweets (or passion fruit), you might want to try other versions instead:
If you are a fan of passion fruit (or passionfruit), you might like this delicious cocktail:
TIPS: As I have mentioned the natural fresh cheese I use here can be perfectly replaced with Greek yogurt.
This cheesecake can be made in one big mould lined with plastic film, and then sliced into portions like a baked cheesecake, but I find individual portions easier to handle and much cuter when served.
You can of course prepare any baked or unbaked crust of your choice.
The amounts of gelatin depend sometimes on the brand. Leaves are sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, powdered gelatin sometimes contains other products and doesn’t set as well as pure gelatin in powder… In short, the aim here is to use here the amount of gelatin which sets 500 ml/2 cups/about 17 oz liquid.
Preparation: 15 minutes + 2 hours in the fridge
Ingredients (serves 4-5):
500 g (about 17 oz) very smooth (mixed) fresh cheese/curd cheese/quark/fromage frais or Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon gelatin or 6 – 8 sheets, depending on the size/brand, so take the amount necessary to set 500 ml/17 fl oz of liquid, see TIPS above)
4 tablespoons warm water (I prefer to use hot water with powdered gelatin)
4 flat tablespoons confectioner’s sugar or sweetener of your choice
(2 tablespoons rum)
Dissolve the gelatin in 4 tablespoons warm or hot (not boiling) water. (If using leaves, proceed as indicated on the package).
Mix the cheese, the rum and the sugar in a food processor.
Add the dissolved gelatin and mix once more.
Pour the cheese mixture into individual bowls or glasses and put into the fridge for at least two hours.
Just before serving cut the passion fruits in two and pour the flesh over the cheesecakes (1 small or 1/2 big passion fruit per glass).
You can sprinkle them with grated white chocolate.