Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Cheesecake

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Passion Fruit (Lilikoi) Cheesecake

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Graham Cracker Crust:
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup Sugar
½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
5 tablespoons Butter (salted or unsalted), melted
Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages regular cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup Sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened passion fruit juice
Passion Fruit glaze:
¼ cup Water
1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
½ cup unsweetened passion fruit juice
3 ½ tablespoons Sugar
Whipped Cream Decoration (optional):
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsweetened passion fruit juice
  • Medium


  • Graham Cracker Crust:

  • Cheesecake Filling:

  • Passion Fruit glaze:

  • Whipped Cream Decoration (optional):



A round, hard yellow fruit with many seeds, lilikoi thrives in tropical climates and is abundant in Hawaii. Originally from Australia, lilikoi was introduced into the islands sometime in 1923.

Concentrated lilikoi juice is used in many desserts, including cheesecake, a popular choice here during the holidays. Rich, smooth, sweet, and tart, lilikoi cheesecake can be found in most Hawaiian restaurants.

How to Make the Crust:

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the crushed Graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and bake for about 8 minutes until the crust smells fragrant and begins to brown.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and reset the temperature to 300 degrees.
  5. Let the crust cool while you make the filling.
  6. When the pan is completely cool, lightly butter the sides with softened butter.

How to Make the Filling:

  1. Beat the cream cheese until very smooth and free of lumps.
  2. Add the sugar and beat well.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each time only until incorporated.
  4. On low speed, beat in the heavy cream until smooth.
  5. Stir in the passion fruit juice.
  6. Pour the filling over the cooled crust and place the pan in the oven.
  7. Bake for 1 hour.
  8. The center of the cheesecake will be jiggly and look underdone.
  9. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 45 minutes. The cheesecake top will be flat and lightly browned.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool the cheesecake to room temperature.
  11. Cover loosely with a paper towel and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until very cold.

How to Make the Glaze:

  1. Put the water into a 1-cup glass measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin.
  2. Do not stir. Just leave it alone. The gelatin will absorb the water slowly.
  3. In a small heavy saucepan, stir the passion fruit juice and sugar together over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid feels very hot to the fingertip. You don’t want the juice to actually boil or it may destroy the gelatin’s ability to set.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the gelatin.
  5. Stir well to dissolve the gelatin—taste a drop or two to make sure you can’t feel any gelatin granules on your tongue—and add the gelatin to the remaining juice in the pan.
  6. Prepare an ice water bath and set the pan of gelatin/passion fruit juice into the pan.
  7. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the liquid is cold and becomes syrupy.
  8. Pour the glaze over the cheesecake and spread evenly almost to the edges.
  9. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

How to Serve the Cheesecake:

  1. Remove the sides of the pan.
  2. If you wish to decorate the top edge of the cheesecake, whip the heavy cream and passion fruit juice until stiff and pipe through a pastry bag with a star tip.
  3. To cut the cake, rinse a knife in hot water before making each cut.
  4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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