Maracuya (Passion Fruit) Cheesecake
by Alison Donald
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)
I'd been craving cheesecake. I am not sure what they make cheesecakes of here in Bolivia, but they never tastes quite right to me. This might be because they don't sell cream cheese here except for imported Philadelphia at prices that might make you cry (around 28Bs, or 4US$ for an 8oz package). I would hazard a guess that many businesses would not be prepared to shell out that much, and look for an alternative.Return to Bolivian Desserts.
I too am not prepared to pay that but neither am I prepared to compromise on taste or texture. Ricotta can generally be found in the larger supermarkets (though only in pre-packaged rounds of approximately 500g) and yogurt is easy enough to find.
After a bit of trial and error I have developed a cheesecake recipe that I am very happy with. Luckily it is also considerably lower in fat than if it were made with cream cheese.
Maracuyá Cheesecake (Passion Fruit)
Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4/ 350F
Butter a 10 inch springform pan
170g (small packet) of suitable biscuits (cookies) for the base
One tablespoon of butter, melted
175ml of maracuyá juice (plus a tablespoon of reserved pulp). 5 large maracuyá should be sufficient for this
3 + 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch
500g of pressed ricotta (diet is fine)
1 cup of thick (greek-style) yogurt. If you can't get greek-style yogurt then you can strain normal yogurt to remove additional whey
3/4 cup plus 1 dessert spoon of sugar
1 large orange
Put the biscuits (cookies) in a food processor and reduce to crumbs. Add to melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly. Press this mixture into a thin, even, layer on the base of your springform pan. Put in the fridge whilst you make the topping.
Put the maracuyá pulp in a sieve and extract all the juice you can. Put 175ml of this juice into a food processor/ blender. To this add your pressed ricotta cheese, broken into small pieces, cup of yogurt, 3 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch, 3/4 cup of sugar and the whites and yolks of 4 eggs. Blend until smooth.
Pour into the springform ban and bake until the top of the cheesecake is firm (your finger will still make a mark on the top at this point). My oven takes an hour to do this but it may be on Bolivian time and I would recommend you check after about 40 mins. Turn off the oven, leave the door open slightly and leave the cheesecake to cool inside.
Don't worry if the top cracks! The topping will cover this. Remove the cheesecake from the pan when completely cool.
When the cheesecake is fully cooled and removed from the pan, you can make the topping. Add 1 tablespoon of pulp (loose seeds rather than a lump) into a measuring jug. Add any left-over maracuyá juice, and make this up to 100ml with juice from your orange. Add sugar to taste, and stir in 2 teaspoons of cornflour. Put in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until the mixture becomes thick (this will happen very quickly and suddenly).
With a spatula, smooth this mixture over the top of the cheesecake, making sure not to disturb the cooked cheesecake below.