Cooking: White chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake


One thing I love about Being A Grown Up (which basically means living in a place of my own with my lovely other half) is having people over for dinner. So far we've had people over for a couple of BBQs and two 'dinner parties'. And 9 times out of ten I drink too much of my carefully selected wine and regret that decision the next day. Must work on that.

A couple of weeks ago we had my 'in laws' over for dinner. I put it in commas because I'm not married but its easier to call them my 'in laws'. I'll lose the annoying commas from here on in. The food was delicious and I managed to track down a very decently priced wine that went amazingly with our main course. For some reason, when it comes to having people round for dinner, I like to experiment with desserts I've never made before. I wouldn't advise this, it leads to all sorts of silly fretting.

I should start by confessing that this recipe is not of my creation, its based on combining quite a few recipes and scouring various places for inspiration.

I love passion fruit, of all the tropical fruits, its definitely my favourite. I think I like it because it looks so damned weird. You have to question the first person to ever eat it, really. Anyway. White chocolate and passion fruit go very well together and as our other dishes were vaguely Thai themed, but I couldn't find a suitable Thai-style dessert, I decided I would just opt for something with passion fruit and probably white chocolate too. I considered this white chocolate and passion fruit mousse by the lovely Nigella Lawson who I should mention is my cooking idol and my biggest girl crush of all time. If I could look half as good as her now, in my late 20s, as she looks currently, I'd be a happy girl. But on this occasion, I decided I didn't want mousse and I started to think about how much I love cheesecake. So my search continued.

I decided quite early on I didn't want a baked cheesecake, I thought it might be a little bit richer in texture and whilst there are precious few light, low fat ingredients in any cheesecake, with a fluffier texture than baked, it feels lighter. Yep, I'll keep telling myself that. So my search led me here to this amazing website called Great British Chefs. Go and register and bookmark it. But don't do it if you're hungry. Its an amazing website full of excellent recipes by top chefs. Drool-worthy. And many of them look easy enough to do at home. That led me to this recipe by Matthew Tomkinson for white chocolate and passion fruit cheesecake. PERFECT. Except, it made a pretty small quantity and I wasn't sure I had an appropriate tin for such a small amount. But I knew I wanted to make an orange sorbet to go with, and I loosely considered the orange crisps but decided against in the end. Then I saw this recipe by Simon Hulstone and thought I could somehow combine the two. Except, by this time I'd bought white chocolate, so I needed a white chocolate cheesecake recipe, which wasn't baked. That led me to this recipe.  But I made a few little changes. So, after a LOT of waffle, this was my cheesecake recipe:

White Chocolate Cheesecake

200g Hob Nob biscuits, crushed
100g melted butter.

275g white chocolate
450g cream cheese (I used full fat Philadelphia)
375ml double cream
3 gelatine leaves

1 23cm springform tin, with the base lined with greaseproof paper

  1. Break the biscuits up roughly in a food processor, then blitz until they resemble a sandy rubble. Pour in the melted butter and blitz again until both are combined. Tip this into your springform tin and flatten out with the back of a spoon. Cover your tin with clingfilm and pop into the freezer for at least a couple of hours to set the base.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of water on the hob. I don't like using the microwave to melt white chocolate, I always burn it!.
  3. Find a flat bottomed dish (I used plastic storage tubs, of which I have several), put some cold water in an inch or so deep and place your gelatine leaves in to soften for at least 5 minutes. make sure the leaves do not stick to each other (I used one large tub and one small tub to soften up three leaves)
  4. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and if it is still firm from the fridge, beat it to soften it up. Add the white chocolate when melted and slightly cooled and mix thoroughly.
  5. Place 75ml of double cream in a small saucepan, adding some vanilla extract if you like, and warm fairly gently. You don't want it to boil, but you do want it to be well over 35 degrees so that the gelatine leaves will melt into it.
  6. Place the remaining 300ml of double cream in a bowl and whip to soft peak stage. I used my Kenwood with balloon whisk attachment, but you can use a handheld whisk or do it by hand, it'll just take a bit longer by hand!
  7. When the gelatine is squidgy in the cold water, remove the leaves gently and squeeze any excess water out of the leaves. Drop the leaves in the heated cream and stir to dissolve, this will be fairly quick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, before stirring into the cream cheese and white chocolate mixture.
  8. Finally, fold in the whipped cream, ensuring everything is evenly combined. Drop this mixture into your springform tin and take the time to get the mixture smoothed out as evenly as you can on the top, this will help when you put the jelly layer on later! Ensure there is some space at the top of the springform tin for this jelly later. Cover the cheesecake with clingfilm again and put back into the fridge for several hours to set. I made all of this the night before.
Now your cheesecake is set, you can concentrate on the jelly. I initially bought whole passionfruit, 6 to be exact, but I didn't want to keep the seeds in as people find it a bit off-putting. I quickly realised there wouldn't be enough fruit for my jelly, so I went back to Tesco where I found a 1litre carton of passion fruit juice for only about 80p. I used a combination of the pulp with the seeds removed and the juice but when I make this again I'll just use the carton of juice. It cheaper, its less fiddly and it comes ready sweetened!

Passion Fruit Jelly Topping
500ml passion fruit juice (from a carton is fine)
25g caster sugar (the juice is ready sweetened, but you might want a little extra to take the edge off)
4 gelatine leaves

  1. Once again, fill tubs with some water and place your leaves in to soak for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Place the passion fruit juice and the caster sugar in a saucepan and heat gently, again, you want to heat it above 35 degrees at least to get the gelatine to melt.
  3. When the gelatine has softened, squeeze the excess water out and add to the passion fruit juice in the saucepan, stirring until the leaves have all melted.
  4. Pour into a pyrex jug and allow to cool. When its lukewarm, get your cheesecake out of the fridge and pour the juice over the top. Carefully pop the clingfilm back on and slowly and steadily pop the cheesecake back into the fridge for several hours to set. I think the minimum is 4 hours. 
You don't need anything to go with this dessert at all, but having been originally inspired by this recipe I wanted to add a little orange sorbet. To be honest, I was so nervous about the cheesecake setting that I wanted to have something to serve as a bit of a backup! I had bought a bag of oranges with the intention of segmenting them and making the orange crisps, but obviously I gave up on that idea. So I juiced all 6 oranges, and added some orange juice from a carton in the fridge and a bit of the leftover passion fruit juice to make up the desired amount of liquid. To be honest, you probably dont need to use freshly squeezed juice, and it's a nice simple cheat if you dont! My orange sorbet was based on this recipe but I doubled the quantities, omitted the star anise and added some of the passion fruit juice as I had some left over! I made this using the ice cream attachment of my Kenwood, which requires freezing the inner bowl overnight.

Orange and Passion Fruit Sorbet

400ml orange juice (freshly squeezed from oranges, or from a carton, or a bit of both!)
200ml passion fruit juice
200g sugar

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, which allows the sugar to dissolve.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool. This works best if you get the liquid really cold, so once its cool, pop it into the fridge to get cold.
  3. Pop the cold liquid into your ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
  4. Place the sorbet into a tub and into the freezer until you need it.
Just for a bit of extra overkill, I also make some biscuits with this recipe which you then do this with. That, in all honesty, was too much. But I had made the biscuits for a dessert a few weeks previously, and I had some leftover dough in the freezer. If not for that, I don't think I would have bothered with that extra step!

Now, after all that writing, you're probably dying for a couple of very badly taken photographs, aren't you?



This was completely delicious, so much so that 3 out of the 4 of us all had seconds there and then! And it made loads of cheesecake, so we had lots of yummy leftovers for a few days after.

I'll definitely make this again. It does require a bit of effort but nothing about it is difficult and you just need to plan your time properly and make this well in advance. Its so tasty, not stupidly sweet and does feel quite light. Making this post has made me want to make it again right away!

Please let me know if you try this, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you like seeing recipes like this?

You Might Also Like