Cheesecake. How do I love thee, let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of New York style baked cheesecake. And I love the fluffy and bouncy and cottonsoft Japanese soufflé cheesecake. And I love the tangy and creamy no bake cheesecake with crunchy graham crusts.
For some reason in this never ending cold spring I had a craving for (almost) no-bake cheesecake like nobody's business. I think my body is on summertime and now all my food related desires are for fruity and refreshing treats. Not one to argue with a craving, I whipped up this relatively simple cheesecake tart. I baked a crispy, crunchy tart shell with graham flour, cinnamon and light brown sugar to get the flavour of a traditional buttery graham biscuit crust, but keeping that extra crunch that is lost when crushing the biscuits and mixing with melted butter.
The cheese filling is made without gelatine, so the mouth feel is more mousselike than a set panna cotta. I personally like this, but if you prefer a more set cheesecake substitute my filling with your favourite no-bake cheesecake. I added elderflower cordial to the filling and topped with a sweet and tart passionfruit jelly for a sunshiny dessert. It is one of my favourite summer combinations in everything from cocktails to caramels.
But for now my prescription against the cold is a little sunshine in the shape of a yellow cheesecake.
Passion fruit and elderflower cheesecake tarts
Four 10cm tarts
140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50g granulated sugar
50g light brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
150g all purpose flour
100g graham flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter with the sugars and salt until creamy. Once combined, add the egg and beat for 30 seconds before beating in the flours and cinnamon.
Knead the dough only until it becomes smooth and homogenous. Divide in 4 equal portions, wrap them in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Sandwich a piece of dough between two pieces of parchment and roll out to 5-6mm thickness. Line a 10cm tart ring with the pastry and repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough. Freeze for at least 15 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 175C.
Bake the tart shells until golden brown, about 25 minutes. You might have to press the bottom of the pastry down with a fork halfway through baking. Leave to cool completely.
250g full-fat cream cheese
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. elderflower cordial
170g heavy cream
Pinch of salt
Combine cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and elderflower cordial in the bowl a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Mix at low speed until smooth, add the heavy cream and beat on high for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is airy, but holds stiff peaks. Save about 4 Tbsp. filling for the marble effect, and divide the remaining filling in the 4 cooled tart shells. Smooth the surface and transfer the tart shells and the reserved filling to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours, while you prepare the jelly topping.
Passionfruit jelly topping
120g passionfruit purée
2 Tbsp. water
1 gelatin leaf
Soak the gelatin in cold water for about 5 minutes. Add passion fruit puree, sugar and water to a small saucepan and warm up until sugar is dissolved. Add the drained gelatin to the mix and stir to dissolve.
Remove from heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
When cooled, but not set, pour the jelly over the chilled cheesecake tarts. Add small dots of the remaining filling in the jelly and using a toothpick gently swirl around until you have a beautiful marbled pattern.
Return to the fridge for another 3 hours before serving.