Passion Fruit is my favorite fruit, but it’s exotic enough that it’s sometimes hard to find (and not cheap). Depending on where you live in the country, you may or may not be familiar with passion fruit. It’s a sweet/tart tropical fruit (parcha in Spanish), that is common in the Caribbean and a refreshing flavor of choice for many.
For those who have not purchased passion fruit before, this recipe allows you to get away with packaged fruit juice, but here’s a primer. Passion fruit will be found in the produce section by the papaya and coconuts. If you live somewhere that doesn’t have this section, seek out a local international or Hispanic market. Passion fruit are approximately the size and color of a plum, but they have a leathery exterior that is not edible and must be cut in half with a knife. The wrinkly fruits are sweeter than the ones with more “pretty” smooth skin, so find a wrinkly one with some give to it. Unlike the skin, the pulp and seeds are both edible, but you may be disappointed by the small amount in each passion fruit – about 2 Tablespoons, give or take. Enough to perfectly accompany a single serving of yogurt, but not much more.
This recipe also allows for the use of passion fruit juice or pulp, depending on its availability and your taste preference. (Links are not brand recommendations, just examples.) Juice (cocktail) is sweeter because it has sugar added so you can drink it as you would any other juice, whereas pulp is the pure tart insides of the fruit and it will make your entire face pucker itself inside out. Neither typically contain seeds. As I have all three (fruit, juice, and pulp) handy, I used fruit for the aesthetic of the seeds, pulp in the cheesecake itself (because the cake balances the tart), and juice for the passion fruit curd. Alternatives will be noted in the recipe.
Passion Fruit Cheesecake
Passion Fruit Curd
1 c canned/bottled passion fruit juice (*or pulp for a more tart result)
½ c + 2 T sugar
6 large egg yolks
2 fresh passion fruits (*optional)
8 graham crackers (1 sleeve), finely crushed
5 T butter, melted
¼ c sugar
Cream Cheese Layer
2 c passion fruit pulp (*or juice)
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
¼ c sour cream
2 T cornstarch
¼ t fine sea salt
For the curd (make ahead, as much as several days)
- Combine all ingredients except for the 2 fresh passion fruit in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon and leave a trail when you run your finger through it, it’s done. This could take anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain through a mesh sieve. If using, add seeds and pulp from two passion fruit at this time (just adds a nice look with the seeds).
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
For the cheesecake
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer the 2 cups of passion fruit pulp (*or juice) until reduced by half (should have 1 cup when you’re done). This will take approximately 15 minutes, depending on your heat. Throw in freezer to quickly chill for about 20 minutes or until it’s no longer warm to the touch.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Combine all crust ingredients in a large bowl until it resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 8″ or 9″ springform pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and sour cream. Add cornstarch and salt until just combined.
- Fold in chilled passion fruit pulp by hand.
- Pour cream cheese mixture over prepared crust.
- Transfer to oven, and bake for 45 minutes in the preheated 325-degree oven. Then, reduce the oven to 250 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes or until the center is no longer jiggly.
- Carefully remove springform pan from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn off oven.
- After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Return to oven (which is now off), and let it slowly cool for 1 hour. Move to refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 5 hours (preferably overnight).
- Spread a smooth layer of passion fruit curd on top, serve and enjoy.