I have gone on record as saying that cheesecakes are quite beyond me. Even with electric mixers, I am not confident at all about whipping cream, cream cheese, and gelatin into fluffy clouds for it. At the same time, I have a serious confession to make: I don’t like Graham cracker crusts: in this part of the world, people who make cheesecakes on a commercial level make them either too soggy or throw in a tad too much sugar. So, ick, meh…
Until this weekend, of course. I don’t know what got into me but I found myself, newly recovered from the flu, traipsing down to the supermarket to grab a kilo of cream cheese, a tub of sour cream, some tinned peaches in syrup, and mangoes to do something of a tropical spin on a blueberry swirl cheesecake recipe I saw in an ad supplement for Harvey Norman in an old issue of Donna Hay Magazine. (Given the scorching heat we’re having in the Philippines, mango season has arrived a touch early…)
Why? I’m torn between saying that it looked easy enough and that I thought it would be a good challenge for me to tackle. Besides, for some odd reason, I was feeling more than a little restless last night, so I decided to do some cooking to burn out the excess energy. Anyrood…
This particular cheesecake is a gorgeously rich, deeply satisfying little number punctuated by contrasts: tart and tangy, subtly sweet, creamy on top and crisp underneath. I swapped milk-chocolate digestives for the Graham crackers to give the crust a slightly sweeter yet nuttier flavor without needing to add any extra sugar. Instead of vanilla extract, I used a vanilla bean; believe me when I say that it makes all the difference as the creamy cheese becomes almost nuttily fragrant and make the peach-mango mixture more sensually appealing. Plus, swirling the fruit coulis on top makes it absolutely chic and elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. It’s a rather fiddly, multi-step operation, but let me hasten to assure you that the end result is abso-freaking-lutely worth it.
One more thing: the original recipe calls for baking this nifty dessert in one of those classic springform pans – a notion to which I turned up my nose (more because I don’t own a springform pan than anything else) and used a standard-issue cake/pie tin. Worked like a charm, really…
Summer Marble Cheesecake
- 180 grams milk chocolate digestives
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 200 grams diced peaches in syrup
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and chunked
- 500 grams cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 vanilla bean
Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees / Gas Mark 2. Grease a 9-inch cake tin and line the base with a circle of waxed paper.
Pulse the digestives in a food processor or pulse-blender till pulverized. Pour in the melted butter and mix until it clumps together. Press the crumb mixture evenly onto the base of the prepared tin. Refrigerate until needed.
Puree the peaches and chunked mango in a blender or food processor until smooth; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add these to the whipped cheese, saving the pod for vanilla sugar or some other use; mix well. Add the sour cream and eggs; mix until smooth and well-combined. Pour the mixture onto the prepared crust.
Drizzle the peach-mango coulis over the cream cheese mixture and drag through a butter knife or wooden skewer to make a marbled effect. Pop into the oven and bake for an hour or until set. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for an additional ten minutes; remove from oven and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.