Are you looking for the perfect cheesecake recipe? This is the easiest and most wonderful one I have ever baked, featuring one of my favourite flavors ever: passion fruit. And no waterbath is required! Let's go straight to the recipe!
Passion fruit cheesecake
This baked passion fruit cheesecake makes a delicious and elegant dessert. It has a very silky and rich texture and a really fragant tropical and fresh taste.
For the crust
Biscuit crumbs crust
For the filling
Cream cheese filling
For the passion fruit syrup
Passion fruit syrup
For the passion fruit "seeds" (cold oil spheriphications)
Passion fruit cold oil spheriphications
For the swiss meringue
- Cheesecakes are better prepared the day before. They need a minimum of 6 hours chilling in the fridge.
- Day one: Prepare the crust, the filling and bake the cheesecake.
- Day two: Prepare the syrup, the cold oil spheriphications, the meringue and decorate the cake. (Meringue is best prepared at the last minute.)
For the crust
- Prepare an 8 inches (20 cm) round cake pan. Lightly grease it with butter and line the bottom with a disk and the edge with a long strip of parchment paper.
- Cut the butter in small cubes, put them in a small bowl and melt them for 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave oven. If there are still unmelted butter chunks, stir them until they melt with the residual heat. You want the butter to be lukewarm, not hot.
- Process the biscuits. Pulse them in a food processor or blender until finely ground. If you don't own a blender, crush them up in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the melted butter with a fork. When combined, it should look like course, damp sand. (I like the crumbs to be only wet enough to hold together, without getting too greasy and soggy.)
- Press the biscuit crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Gently press them using your fingers until they form a nice even layer. Make sure the crust is firmly packed.
- Place the pan in the fridge and in the meanwhile prepare the filling.
For the filling
- Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and Mascarpone on low speed until smooth and creamy. Don't over-beat or you'll incorporate too much air.
- Add sugar and beat again until creamy. Using a spatula scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Gradually add the eggs on low speed, one at a time, mixing just until each egg is just incorporated. Once all eggs have been added, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again and make sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Combine the milk and cornstarch in a small bowl and add it to the mix. Beat for a few seconds until incorporated.
- Add the cream, the vanilla and the passion fruit pulp. Beat after each addition but don't over-beat. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula again so that all ingredients are well combined.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared pan. Make sure the biscuit crumb edges are not taller than the filling. You can cut and take the crumbs out with a spoon making sure to work cleanly.
- Transfer the cheesecake to the center rack of your oven. Bake it on 350 °F (175 °C) for 15 minutes, adjust the temperature to 250 °F (120 °C) and bake for an additional 75 minutes until the outside is firm but the center still jiggles a bit. Don't overbake it, or it will not be so creamy. And don't open the oven door until the end of the baking time!
- Crack open the door and leave the cheesecake inside for at least 1 hour (the more, the better!).
- Take out of the oven and let cool down completely on a wire rack. Place in the fridge and let cool for at least 5-6 hours or overnight. It needs to set before unmolding.
For the passion fruit syrup
- Place the sugar, water, and passion fruit pulp in a saucepan over low-medium heat and boil until syrupy, about 15 minutes.
- Let it cool to room temperature.
For the cold oil caviar "seeds" (optional / only if the fruit syrup has no seeds)
- Place a tall glass with a generous amount of unflavored plant oil in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix the passion fruit pulp with the black bamboo charcoal powder in small saucepan. Mix the sugar and the agar agar in a pincher bowl and add to the passion fruit pulp.
- Over medium heat, stir constantly and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 2-3 minutes.
- Take out of the stove and let cool to 120-130 °F (50-55 °C).
- Fill a syringe and drop the passion fruit solution, one droplet at a time, into cold oil from about 5 inches from the surface of the oil.
- When you’ve used all your mixture, strain the caviar by pouring the oil over a strainer. You can perfectly reuse the oil later!
- Place strained caviar pearls into bowl of ice water to remove remaining oil, then strain from water and serve! If you don't use them immediately, keep them in a glass with orange or apple juice.
For the swiss meringue
- Fill a pot with about 2 inches of water. Place over high heat until steaming-hot, then adjust temperature to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Combine the egg whites and sugar in a bowl. Set over steaming water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir and scrap constantly with a spatula, until egg whites mark at least 150 °F (65 °C) and the mixture no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip at middle speed for 4 minutes and at high speed for 4 more minutes until meringue is glossy and flows slightly. Use immediately.
- Unmold the cheesecake.
- If you used a regular cake pan, run a knife between the inside edges of the mold and the paper strips, place a flat plate covered with parchment paper on the mold, invert the cake onto the plate, take out the base paper circle and carefully invert it again onto the serving plate. Remove the side paper strips.
- If you used a springform pan, take out the ring, transfer the cake onto the serving plate making sure to removing the parchment paper circle, and remove the side paper strips.
- With a 4 inch cookie cutter, mark a circle on the center of the cheesecake. Cover the outer ring of the cake with a small amount of meringue and decorate it with the piping tip of your choice. (I used a "Saint Honoré" tip.) Torch using a blow torch.
- Top the center of the cheesecake with passion fruit syrup.
My tips for a perfect cheesecake
The best crust
- Cheesecake crusts tend to attract humidity and get soggy, that's a fact. There are a few tricks to keep them the most crisp possible:
- Avoid adding to much butter to the biscuit crumbs. If when pressing the crumbs between your fingers they do not hold, add a little additional melted butter at a time.
- Blind bake the cake crust for 10 minutes, carefully brush it with slightly beaten egg white and bake it for 2 additional minutes. Allow it to cool completely before filling it with the cream cheese mixture. You'll have to take care of not pulling the crumbs with your brush.
- Most of the biscuit crumb crusts for cheesecakes call for some additional granulated sugar. When caramelized, it helps held the crumbs together. I am not a big fan of added sugar in this kind of crusts: it gives them a grainy texture and they feel overly sweet to my taste. However feel free to mix a tablespoon of the sugar of your choice with the biscuit crumbs before you add the melted butter.
The perfect filling
- The are a few secrets to a perfect filling:
- Be sure your all your ingredients are at room temperature.
- Beat the cream cheese and Mascarpone by itself until there are no lumps and they look smooth and creamy.
- Beat at low speed all the time. Do not incorporate too much air while combining the ingredients. If too much air is beaten into the mixture, the cheesecake will puff during baking, then collapse and split when cooled.
- Stop the mixer occasionally and scrape the batter down from the sides of the bowl.
- Bake the cake slowly. Let it cool down slowly. Let it rest in the fridge overnight before unmolding.
To waterbath or not to waterbath
- There's definitely no need. It is annoying, a mess and not very sustainable (because you need lots of aluminium foil to avoid water entering the mold). To prevent the cake from cracking you only need to avoid very high baking temperatures and thermal shocks (abrupt temperature changes):
- Begin baking the cake at 350 °F (175 °C) for 15 minutes and then adjust the oven to 250 °F (120 °C), a much milder temperature, and continue baking for 75-90 minutes.
- Don't open the oven door while baking the cake. Only do so at the end to check doneness.
- Once done (relatively firm on the outside and jiggly in the center), let the cake cool down in the oven for at least 1 hour and then take out and let cool on a wire rack before placing into the fridge.