Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Cheesecake
A round, hard yellow fruit with many seeds, lilikoi, most popularly known as passion fruit, thrives in tropical climates and is abundant in Hawaii.
Originally from Australia, lilikoi was introduced into the islands sometime in 1923. Since then the fruit has made its way into many local desserts thanks to its wonderful aroma.
Concentrated lilikoi juice is also a main ingredient in this staple Hawaiian cheesecake dessert, a popular choice in Hawaii especially during the holidays. It’s rich, smooth, sweet, and tart all at once, which makes it a well rounded mix of flavors to top a good meal with.
Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Cheesecake
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 5 tablespoons butter (salted or unsalted), melted
For the cheesecake filling:
- 24 oz regular cream cheese (3 x 8-ounce packages) at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup unsweetened passion fruit juice + 2 tablespoons extra
For the passion fruit glaze:
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup unsweetened passion fruit juice
- 3 ½ tablespoons sugar
For the whipped cream decoration (optional):
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened passion fruit juice
How to Make the Crust:
- Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350° F/ 180° C.
- Once you've turned the graham to crumbs in a food processor, combine it in a bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and melted butter using a silicon spatula.
- Transfer to a 9-inch (23 cm) diameter springform pan and press the crumbs firmly to the bottom to shape the crust.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes until nicely brown and firm.
- Turn own the heat in the oven too 300 °F/ 150° C
- While the crust is cooling you can continue preparing the filling.
- Once it's fully cooled, line the sides lightly with softened butter.
How to Make the Filling:
- Mix the cream cheese with a hand mixer until it gains a smooth consistency.
- Next, add the sugar and beat it until well dissolved and then the eggs one by one, making sure to incorporate each egg before adding the next.
- In a separate bowl add the heavy cream and beat it on low speed until smooth and creamy, then mix in the passion fruit juice.
- Pour the filling in the crust and put it in the oven to bake for 1 hour.
- Once the 1 hour is up, you'll see the middle of the cheesecake will still look underdone and loose. Just turn off the oven and leave it to rest in the oven for 45 minutes longer. The cheesecake top will be flat and lightly browned.
- Finally, remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature, then place it in the fridge for 2-3 hours or preferably overnight to set.
How to Make the Glaze:
- Pour the water in a measuring cup, add the gelatin and leave it, unstirred, until the gelatin absorbs the water.
- Take a small saucepan and stir the passion fruit juice with the sugar together on medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has heated well, but hasn't yet started to boil.
- Pour 1/2 cup of this juice in with the gelatin and stir to dissolve it. Once all the granules have melted, add to the rest of the juice in the pan and stir well.
- Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and place the passionfruit/gelatin mixture pan on top, mixing until it gains a syrupy consistency.
- Pour the glaze over the cheesecake and smooth it out, making sure the layer is even.
- Let it firm in the fridge for about 2 hours.
How to Serve the Cheesecake:
- Remove the sides of the cheesecake's pan. Optionally, at this point you can decorate the top outer edge of the cake with a mix of whipped cream and passion fruit juice.
- To make it, whip the heavy cream and the juice together until firm and pipe through a pastry bag with a star-shaped nozzle.
- To get perfect slices when cutting the cake, rinse the knife blade in hot water before each cut.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.