Cheesecake. It is my weakness.
I vividly remember my first cheesecake. I actually made it after watching my mentor on her TV show – Dia a Dia con Maria Rosa. She made a basic cheesecake, topped with fruits. I recall having problems unmolding it because I didn’t have a springform pan. So, I left the cheesecake in its baking pan, and carefully scooped slices out and served them with strawberries. Although messy, it was the most delectable dessert I had ever had.
Cheesecakes could be at times a bit complicated. I believe the difficulty is not in the actual cheesecake, but in the equipment, mainly the springform pan. These pans, while helpful in getting your dessert from oven to table, are not waterproof. This is an issue when baking cheesecakes in a water bath. I’ve had waterlogged cheesecake crusts, and believe me they are not pleasant. So what do you do if the crust is soggy? I have scraped it off and just had the cheesecake filling on its own. I’ve also made extra crust mixture and sprinkle it over the cheesecake. At least it is not a complete waste.
Now back to the passion fruit and the dulce de leche. I mean, what is not to like about these flavors? The passion fruit is tangy, and the dulce de leche is just that – sweet! Both flavors complement each other nicely, in my opinion, and showcase a great way to infuse Latin flare in a traditional dessert.
Preparing the crust:
Have you seen these? These are called galletas Maria, and they are vanilla cookies with a subtle hint of sweetness. These are what Maria Rosa used to use in her cheesecake recipe. Galletas Maria are widely available at major grocery stores, and usually are in the Hispanic food section. If you can’t find them, you can use graham crackers.
In a food processor add the cookies, and pulse until you have crumbs.
Add a bit of sugar and some melted butter, and pulse a few more times to get mealy mixture.
In a really, really, REALLY well lined 9-inch springform pan, pour the cookie crumbs and press them down with your hand to cover the bottom of the pan, and up the edges slightly.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 7-10 minutes until the crust is slightly golden. Cool down the crust before pouring the cheesecake mixture onto it.
Preparing the filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
In a standalone mixer, beat a couple of packages of cream cheese and some ricotta cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
To this add a bit of salt, a bit of flour, the passion fruit pulp and some sugar, and continue beating at medium low speed and then increasing to medium high until all the ingredients are combined. Every so often, scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the cream cheese and the other ingredients are properly incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract and some lightly beaten eggs to the mixture and mix a for a few more minutes until everything is smooth.
Pour about half of the mixture into the crust pan.
Divvy up your dulce de leche into two parts, saving half of it for serving. Scoop and drizzle some of the dulce de leche into the cheesecake.
Add the rest of the cheesecake mixture and then add some more of the dulce de leche and swirl around to create a marbled pattern.
Place the cheesecake into a larger pan filled with hot water about halfway up the cheesecake pan. This is why it is of utmost importance to line that pan tightly!
Bake at 325F for an hour and a half, until the cheesecake is no longer jiggly on the top. I know – this is a highly technical term.
Turn off the oven, leave the oven door slightly opened, and let the cheesecake cool down in there for about an hour. Then, refrigerate for 6 hours to overnight.
Now, your passion fruit and dulce de leche cheesecake is ready to be consumed. With copious amounts of extra dulce de leche.
- 32 Maria cookies (Galletas Maria)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 - 8oz. packages low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), room temperature
- 8 oz. part skim ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup passion fruit pulp, thawed
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 - 13.4oz can dulce de leche (half for the cheesecake, half for serving)
- Preheat the oven at 375F.
- In a food processor, add the cookies and pulse to form crumbs.
- Add the sugar and melted butter and pulse until a mealy texture is achieved.
- In a 9-inch springform pan, thoroughly lined with aluminum paper, pour the cookie mixture and press down and slightly up to the sides until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
- Bake 7-10 minutes until the crust is slightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before pouring the cheesecake mixture.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
- In a standalone mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and the ricotta cheese. Beat at medium speed until creamy.
- Add the salt, flour, pulp and sugar and beat at medium low increasing to medium high, to combine all the ingredients. Stop a couple of times to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure uniform mixing.
- Add the vanilla extract and the eggs. Beat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture onto the cooled crust.
- Divide the dulce de leche contents in two parts. Scoop spoonfuls of half of the dulce de leche onto the cheesecake mixture. Reserve the other half for serving.
- Add the rest of the cheese cake mixture followed by the rest of the dulce de leche and swirl for a marbled effect.
- Place cheesecake pan into a larger pan, filled with hot water about halfway up the cheesecake pan. Bake for 1.5 hours until the cake no longer jiggles. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool for one hour inside the oven, with the door ajar.
- Place cheesecake in the fridge for at least 6 hours to overnight.
- Serve slices with remaining dulce de leche spread on top.