My Passion Fruit-Ginger Cheesecake bars are sweet, tart, subtly spicy, creamy and oh-so-pretty!This is an interesting and very delicious dessert. And by interesting, I mean it’s far different from your run-of-the-mill (also delicious) cheesecakes.
It’s alluring. I mean, look at it! That color! Those spots! Look even more closely and you’ll see delicate specs of ground cardamom, cinnamon and freshly grated ginger. In one bite, through utterly lovely creaminess, you’ll taste the warmth of the spices, the kick from the ginger, and sweet tartness from the passion fruit. It’s interesting, I tell you! And quite delicious!
I’m not always a fan of edible fruit seeds. Albeit truly gorgeous, pomegranate seeds, for example, are not my favorite to eat. Though I do love the juice, I find the inside of the seed unpleasant to swallow. It’s a personal thing. Forgive me.
The seeds of a passion fruit however, add the perfect bit of texture as they crunch just like a tiny piece of a cookie would – pleasantly. And of course, they certainly add to the interesting factor.
(If you prefer a smooth consistency throughout, you can easily strain the passion fruit pulp. (It will show you exactly how to do that in How to Cut, Eat, and Juice Passion Fruit: A Photographic Guide.)
- 1-pound ginger snap cookies (preferably on the soft side - see notes)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger pulp (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- juice and seeds from 2 passion fruits (Here's How to Cut, Eat, and Juice Passion Fruit: A Photographic Guide.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, adjust a rack to the center, and line a square (8 x 8 x 2-inch) baking pan with parchment paper. (Use a large piece that will cover the sides and cut slits in each corner so that it will lay flat.)
- Add the cookies to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and blend into fine crumbs. Pour them into a medium-sized mixing bowl and fold in the melted butter. Once the mixture is smooth, add it to the parchment-lined pan and use your hands and/or a flat-bottomed spatula to press it down evenly to form the crust. Place in the preheated 350 degree F oven and bake just until the edges are becoming golden and the center no longer looks wet, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set it aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on a low speed, to mix the cream cheese with the sweetened condensed milk, cream, ginger, vanilla, 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Blend until it's smooth. (You can use a spoon instead of an electric mixer, just be sure the result is super smooth!)
- Pour the smooth cheese mixture on top of the cooled crust and use a small spatula to spread it out evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until it's set, at least 4 hours.
- Cut he passion fruits in half and pour the juice into a small mixing bowl -- use a spoon to scrape the pulp and seeds from the inside of the skin. (Here's How to Cut, Eat, and Juice Passion Fruit: A Photographic Guide.)
- Sift in the remaining tablespoon of powdered sugar and use a whisk to blend it with the pulp. You can evenly pour this over the entire cake in the pan, or on each individual bar when you serve.
- To serve, gently lift the cake from the pan with the edges of the parchment paper, and place it onto a cutting board. Slice it into 16 evenly sized squares. (If you haven't already poured the passion fruit over the cake, you can do so now, as you serve.)
To get the ginger pulp, use a super fine grater, like a microplane grater, to grate the ginger. If you don't have one, chop it as finely as possible, until it's juicy.