A few weeks ago I made a batch of tangy, fragrant passionfruit curd.
Even before I’d started the rather time consuming work of de-pulping a bucket’s worth of passionfruit, I had my final vision in mind – a light, creamy, dreamy tropical cheesecake with lashings of passionfruit curd and citrus sass.
On a whim, I decided to cautiously open my web browser and do a bit of pre-baking investigation.
This was a highly unusual move because unless I’m searching for a very specific answer, trawling through the internet for a ‘general idea’ can be a stressful and utterly overwhelming exercise.
It feels like leafing through the pages of history’s most enormous book, with teeny, tiny writing, except worse – you’re leafing through THE ENTIRE WORLD… Has anyone ever reached the last page of a Google search? Is it even possible??
This also means that at some point you’ll need to narrow down the infinite list of possibilities out there to a short list of contenders, each competing to reach the finale of a virtual gourmet talent contest taking place in your very own head:
‘RIGHT! You all ask for cream cheese but there’s some contention between mascarpone and sour cream. We want to know why, so step forward to present your case! Mascarpone’s certainly distinctive… We know it works… But maybe we’re looking for something new – something fresh…’
[Judge takes a break to confer with side panel on merits of either ingredient]
‘Ok, we’ve decided sour cream is the order of the day so you three over there are eliminated – thanks for playing, goodbye! Next we want to know how many eggs you call for? Two over there… Four… Three… Two again… Four… Hmmmmm, we’ll be back after this short pause…’
[Judge goes to check the fridge for number of eggs currently at her disposal]
‘Number of eggs doesn’t seem to be a strong enough debate point so we want to look at serving potential – how many people will you serve and what size pan do you call for? We want tall cakes, people – the taller, the better! You there, you 24s – you’re out! Ok, 20 centimetres is our smallest circumference… Anyone in between…? A couple of 22s… Hmm… Ok, all the 20s are through to the next round!
[Judge returns to scrutinise portfolios for other arbitrary points of difference]
‘Next round, we’re interested in breeding and background… Contestants #1 to #5 are from established publications whilst #6 to #8 are from independent blogs and boutiques. Personal bias is a key selection tool! #1 you’re out, you look too mainstream… And you, #3 and #7! You’ve got grammatical errors, #6 ! It doesn’t matter if this is a cooking contest; not knowing the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ is a fundamental requirement! And #5, your photo is too small! Ok, we’re down to three finalists and will return after this break…
[Exhausted judge has a cup of tea and takes a nap]
And so on, so forth…
‘Nooooooo, not another option, not another tab – I’ve already got ten tabs open – I can’t remember it all – it’s too much! TOO MUCH!!’
From this small but revealing insight into the fruit-loopiness of my brain and my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, you can understand why I shy away from the vastness of the internet and why negotiating social media gives me heart palpitations. I might fall into the tech-savvy category of Gen Y but I hands down prefer to go recipe-hunting through my shelves of cookbooks and years’ worth of delicious. magazines.
That said, this recipe comes to you courtesy of a recent daring ramble along the path of my web search engine and is, admittedly, the most luscious cheesecake I’ve ever made.
Creamy, baked to perfection without any hint of dryness…
It goes to show that fortune does indeed favour the brave.
passionfruit curd cheesecake
250g digestive biscuits
20g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
300g sour cream
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 ½ cups passionfruit curd
Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F) and line the base of a 20 centimetre (9 inch) springform cake pan with baking paper.
Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until finely crushed (alternatively, place the biscuits in a large plastic sandwich bag and bash with a rolling pin).
Add the melted butter to the crushed biscuits and process until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the cake pan and use a flat-bottomed drinking glass to press the crumb mixture firmly over the base.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the sour cream and beat again until smooth. Finally, add the eggs and lemon rind and beat until just combined.
Spoon ½ cup of passionfruit curd in an even layer over the biscuit base. Gently pour over the cream cheese mixture and give the sides of the pan several taps with a wooden spoon to encourage any air bubbles to rise to the surface.
Place the pan on an oven tray and bake for 45 minutes, until the centre is just set (it should still be wobbly). Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside, with the door ajar, for an hour or until completely cool.
Once cool, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place in the fridge to chill.
When ready to serve, spread over the remaining passionfruit curd.