Caramel Pineapple Cheesecake
There’s one part of me who’s dreading the impending summer and its energy-crushing heatwaves, soul-draining humidity, ants, bugs, muthafreaking flies and that horrible uncomfortable sweat you get at the back of your neck when you’re in the kitchen. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to t-shirts and flip flops, beaches and the smell of swimming pool chlorine, Christmas, BBQs and (heck yes) summer fruits. You should see me at the moment acting like a loon at the sight of peaches, mangoes, watermelons, berries, grapes and nectarines.
Then once in a while, I’m lured by the smell of pineapple. I couldn’t resist picking one up on impulse which of course led to a bit of back and forth with what I wanted to do with it. This time The Captain decided for me and demanded a baked pineapple cheesecake. This poor man loves cheesecakes in all forms and I, sadly for him, hate making it. That and the fact that there are many other desserts I rather eat instead. I love the taste of cream cheese and all but that heavy dense texture of baked cheesecakes can put me off. Which is why I prefer it in this more lighter form instead.
But the man brought out the if-you-love-me-you-will-do-it eyes and I caved. This cake is all for him even though I was in raptures myself over the flavour of the roasted pineapple with the cream cheese. So while he polished off the whole thing himself, I was more than happy to pick all the pineapple bits off. Much to his annoyance.
Caramel Pineapple Cheesecake
1 medium to large pineapple
225g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter
150g chocolate biscuits (I like Arnotts Chocolate Ripple but you could use anything you like)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
40g unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
400g cream cheese
150g sour cream
1 egg yolk
90g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Before you get started, take the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs out of the fridge. Ingredients needs to be at room temperature before mixing.
Peel and core pineapple then cut into 8 to 10 x 1.5cm slices. Combine sugar and water in a large pan over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase heat to medium then cook until an amber caramel, swirling occasionally.
Add the pineapple slices in a single layer then cook, turning once for about 10-15 minutes until slightly translucent and caramelised, basting the pineapple every few minutes with the sauce (you might have to do this in batches if you don’t have a large enough pan). Remove fruit from pan and set aside to cool. Cook remaining liquid until reduced to a light syrup. Remove from heat then stir through the butter and leave aside to cool completely.
Take approximately 120g of the caramel pineapple and process into a rough purée for the cheesecake batter (you should have about 6-8 slices left over for garnishing the cake).
Preheat oven to 150°C. Lightly grease the sides of 6 x 7.5cm cake rings or springform cake tins then place on a baking paper-lined tray. Process all the crust ingredients until crumbly then press into the bases then refrigerate.
Meanwhile combine the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and the pineapple purée in a food processor. Take care not to over-mix and incorporate too much air (I like to rap the bowl on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles).
Pour into the cake rings then bake for about 20 minutes. Cake is ready when the sides are just set but there is still a jiggle in the centre. Switch off the heat, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow cheesecake to cool completely in the oven before chilling in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight.
Serve topped with caramel pineapple rings and extra syrup.
The original cheesecake recipe used 6 x 7.5cm cake rings and baked it for 20 minutes which I recommend you do. If you do decide to bake it all in a 20cm tin like I did, make sure to use a water bath for the best texture.
Do not be tempted to open the door while the cheesecake is baking. Seriously, no peeking!
Make sure to allow the cake to cool slowly and gently in the oven. Cheesecakes do not like sudden changes in temperatures.
Do not over bake the cake so make sure there is still a jiggle in the centre when you switch off the oven. The residual heat as the cheesecake is cooling will be enough to fully set the cake.
Caramel pineapple recipe adapted from Apt 2B Baking Co. and cheesecake adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Citrus and Candy http://www.citrusandcandy.com/