I promised I would try to write at least once a week and I’m actually following through! This time we’re going to do something a little different.
On the Colombia coast we are in my favorite season: mango season. Loyal fans of the blog have already heard me talk about mangoes A LOT. You can literally see the boughs of the trees bending toward the earth because they are so laden with fruit. When you walk through the streets you are guaranteed to see gangs of youngsters crowded underneath the shade of the trees, plotting on how they are going to knock the fruit out of the upper branches, arguing over the merits of a long stick or a well-thrown shoe, scrambling to catch the falling fruit before it splats on the well-packed dirt.
As much as I love mangoes, I can only eat about 30 a day before I start to get tired of them. So I decided to try some new kitchen experiments. I present you: Mango Cheesecake! A couple of notes first. And I know, no one ever reads the notes on a cooking blog (they just skip to the recipe) but these are important!
Below I have two different versions. The first one is a version that you bake and then refrigerate. I am one of the fortunate few in Peace Corps that has an oven. Most Colombian households on the coast don’t have an oven. Or if they do it is not used at all, instead becoming an extra Tupperware cupboard. However I also attached a second version, which is a no-bake cheesecake. For those of you that are blessed with an oven and can’t decide which one to make, there are a few differences. The first version was adapted from the TV show The Great British Baking Show, so it is very decadent and rich. The second version is very light and refreshing. Both are delicious and I honestly don’t have a favorite.
Mango Cheesecake (bake and refrigerate)
For the crust
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 large egg, beaten, for the egg wash
For the filling
About 2/3 cup mango puree (I added almost a cup to make it super mango-y)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Zest from a lime
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups mascarpone (I had to substitute this… there was no way I was going to find mascarpone in the pueblo) OR 16 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup sour cream, ¼ cup heavy whipping cream (mix well)
1 cup crème fraiche (also had to substitute this) OR 1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs, plus 4 large egg yolks
For the whipped cream (optional)
Buy it at the store or use heavy whipping cream with a little bit of white sugar and vanilla extract and make your own.
If you are in Colombia, you should buy a packet of Chantilly Royal and then add a cup of milk (and be prepared to sweat a lot when you whisk it until it has stiff peaks). It will either be in the powdered milk section, the baking section, or the gelatin section. That’s the only way you can make whipped cream here without the cream turning chunky.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Combine the light brown sugar, butter, and flour in a food processor; pulse just until they start to clump. Add the oats and pulse just until incorporated. The mixture should be fairly uniform and cohesive. If you don’t want to use a food processor, or you’re like me and don’t want to wash out the blender, you can mix with your hands. Make sure to cube the butter beforehand if you mix with your hands.
Use a little more butter to grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crust mixture into the base of the pan; bake for 10 minutes or until browned. Brush the crust with the egg wash, then bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool; leave the oven on. If you do not have a springform pan: I used a regular shallow pie pan. However when I poured the mango mixture in, I had about half leftover. So I just made another one a few days later. You will have to make the crust again.
For the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 320 degrees. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil (to prevent water from getting in) and place it inside the roasting pan. If you aren’t using a springform you don’t have to wrap anything. Boil a kettle of water.
Combine the mango puree, lime juice, lime zest, granulated sugar, mascarpone, crème fraîche, eggs and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed until smooth. Pour the mixture into the springform pan or your regular pan (seated in the roasting pan); you can fill it all the way to the top; it doesn’t rise; transfer the roasting pan to the middle oven rack, then pour in enough boiling water so it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until the cake is set, with a slight wobble in the center. Check the water level during baking; you may need to add more to maintain the same level before the cake is done.
Transfer the springform pan from the water bath to a wire cooling rack; discard the foil and try to blot up any water that might have pooled in the base of the pan. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature; cover with plastic wrap (if it comes in contact with the surface, that’s okay), then refrigerate for at least a few hours and preferably overnight.
You can then serve with a dollop of whipped cream! If you want to go wild you can use coconut cream to make your whipped cream and top it with toasted coconut flakes.
No-Bake Mango Cheesecake
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup white sugar
1½ cup cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream (Colombia edit: I use crema de leche)
½ cup mango pulp
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon gelatin
½ cup hot water
Make the crust: Combine the graham crackers, sugar and melted butter. Press this mixture to a loose bottom tin or the dish you are using. I used a large rectangular pan that I usually use for cheesecake. Refrigerate it while you make the rest of the cheesecake.
Make the filling: Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Whip heavy cream with two to three tablespoons of sugar until soft-medium peaks form (if you’re making this in Colombia, whip until it thickens). Set aside. Add the rest of the powdered sugar to the cream cheese and mix until it becomes smooth. Combine the mango puree and warm gelatin mixture. Add this to the cream cheese mixture. Mix well. Fold in the heavy cream and mix. Pour this mixture over the crust and return it to the fridge. Refrigerate for about four hours, or until you notice that it has set.