I never knew what passionfruit was until pastry school. Ever since, I have been obsessed with the flavor and love it immensely. It’s something that is hard to describe; but I’ll try. It is tangy, sharp but a pleasant floral fruity taste. If you are a lemon or citrus lover you will like passionfruit. If you are buying it fresh it is quite expensive unless you happen to live below the equator or in a region where it is grown. I buy the frozen passionfruit pulp by Goya brand which is easily found in either Asian or Hispanic markets. I always have one in the freezer stashed away. Buying it frozen is inexpensive. If you are lucky to buy them fresh, you’ll want to wait until the outside thick skin gets quite wrinkly in appearance which at that point you will get it at it’s peak ripeness. When you cut one open you will see seed pockets with juice inside. You’ll need to scoop out the contents and strain to get maximum juice. The flowers of a passionfruit vine are amazingly beautiful. If you decide to make the optional curd it does freeze nicely of any leftover amount. It blends nicely into buttercream as well to make a tantalizing buttercream. For any leftover passionfruit curd, I simply place in an airtight container and freeze.
9 sheets of Graham crackers
1 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
In a food processor grind the crackers until finely ground, then add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease the sides and bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Press the crumbs into the springform pan.
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 C. sour cream, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
3 large egg yolks, room temperature and lightly beaten
2/3 C. strained passion fruit pulp or puree
Place the cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer and with the paddle attachment beat on medium speed until smooth. Add in the sour cream and mix until combined. Turn down the speed to medium low and pour in the whisked eggs and yolks in a steady stream. Beat thoroughly, then gently stir in the passion fruit juice and gently combine. Pour the filling into the chilled crumb lined prepared pan.
Bake for about 55-60 minutes or until the edges are set but the center remains slightly wobbly when you shake the pan slightly. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside for one hour with the door propped open with a wooden spoon. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
Optional: cover the cheesecake with passionfruit curd and chill in the fridge overnight to firm up. The cheesecake will be very soft, so do not attempt to remove the ring until at least chilled for 8 hours. I actually like to make the curd the day prior and take it out and stir to loosen a bit to get smooth before spooning over the cheesecake.
Optional passionfruit curd:
(yield: ~ 2 Cups)
1/2 Cup passion fruit puree, divided
1 tsp. powdered gelatin
1 Cup sugar
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1. a small bowl measure out 2 tablespoons of the passion fruit puree and sprinkle the gelatin over and set aside to bloom. Keep the rest of the puree for the remainder of the recipe in step 2.
2. Place the remaining passion fruit puree, sugar, egg, egg yolks, and salt in a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until mixture reaches 160° F. Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin until combined. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and stir in the butter. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap directly over the surface and place in the refrigerator to chill. Spoon a generous amount over the chilled and set cheesecake a few hours prior to you serving the cheesecake.
Note: you will have some curd leftover which you can freeze or store in the fridge to spread on scones etc. or stir into yogurt (coconut yogurt in particular is fabulous!) You can also stir curd into vanilla buttercream to make passion fruit buttercream.