>> Wednesday, December 25, 2013
People have been very surprised when they found out that for the 12 years I've lived in Australia, this year is actually the first time that I would be spending Christmas and New Years here. I'm surprised myself too that it's taken me this long to see Santa in the heat of summer!
In the past, I'd likely have been traveling somewhere up the northern hemisphere visiting my parents during this festive and joyous season. As I scheduled my travels ahead this year (and as as much as I miss the winter hot chocolates and the often ugly holiday sweaters), I've been quite excited about spending summertime here.
No heavy winter coats, no dodging left and right from the winter flu and no darkening skies in the afternoon. Just looong summer days in my t-shirts and sandals.
One small highlight for me has been the array the fruits that December offers in Australia...fragrant mangoes, plump cherries, juicy dribble-down-your-chin white peaches, and nectarines...oh, the list goes on!
Did I tell you I've been purchasing frozen mangoes over the past winter just to snack on?
Needless to say, when we purchased a whole tray of fresh mangoes last week, I was giddy like a child!
Recipes after recipes bubbled up in my head as I pondered long and hard what to make with the mangoes apart from eating them as they are - the criss-crossed cheek method.
After experimenting with Ottolenghi's soba noodle with aubergine and mango followed by a cooling mango lassi, my family requested a mango cheesecake!
This is not the type of cheesecake I usually make - which is baked and has a super light and fluffy texture (and which also to my surprise is the most popular recipe on this blog!)
This mango cheesecake is raw and dense - set with gelatine leaves and at the base it has a layer of digestive cookies followed by a layer of cream cheese mixed with mango puree, and finally topped with layer of mango slices covered in mango puree jelly! Oh and decorated with more fresh mangoes!
The result is a mango-filled cheesecake for the hot summer days. And the best thing is that it requires no baking (just some patience when the cake sets in the fridge!).
Each mouthful is smooth and creamy set against the juicy sweet mangoes. And with a slight tang/tartness from the yogurt too!
Today is Christmas (at the time of posting) so I hope you are all having a wonderful and joyous Christmas whatever your circumstances may be currently.
Over the years I've noticed that it isn't about receiving gifts that makes Christmas so meaningful. It's giving them and watching the look of surprise on people's face as they unwrap the presents. Without any words, you feel closer to one another.
This reminds me of God who held nothing back from us by sending the only Gift that could bridge the gap between us and Him - the best Gift of all, and the Gift we needed most...the Savior Jesus and His message of grace.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" - 2 Corinthians 9:15
I'm feeling a great surge of gratitude this Christmas. I pray you are too!
Wishing you His joy today and always :)
6 inch cake
- 100g digestive cookies
- 50g melted unsalted butter
Mango cream cheese:
- 200g pureed mango
- 200g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 120ml pouring cream
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 10g sheets of leaf gelatine (around 3-4 sheets)
- 50g greek or plain yogurt
- juice of half a lemon
- 150g pureed mango (I used a stick blender to puree)
- 2 mangoes (1 to place in the gelatine layer and 1 to decorate with on top of cake)
- 50ml water
- 10g sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 5g sheets of leaf gelatine (~2 sheets)
1. Process the biscuits until they are like crumbs, then add the butter and pulse again. Line the bottom of a 6 inch/15cm tin with a removable base (or a springform tin), pressing the biscuits in with your hands or the back of your spoon. Put the tin in the fridge to set.
2. Submerge the 10g gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water and leave to soak and soften for 5 minutes.
3. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth and add in the sugar, cream and milk and mix until combined and smooth.
4. Transfer the cream cheese mixture into a small pot and place on the stove over low gas and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Take the gelatine leaves out of the water, give them a good squeeze to get rid of excess water, and stir one by one into the cream cheese mixture (they will dissolve instantly). Leave to cool for a few minutes.
5. Add the yogurt, lemon juice and pureed mango into the cream cheese mixture. Leave to cool completely.
6. Pour into the cake pan and smooth down slightly.
7. Leave to cool in the fridge for around 3-4 hours until set.
8. Submerge the 5g gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water and leave to soak and soften for 5 minutes.
9. Put the 150g mango puree, water and sugar and lemon juice into a pot and heat up over low gas.
10. Take the gelatine leaves out of the water and squeeze dry, and stir into the pot.
11. Cut two cheeks from the mango and remove the skin on both cheeks. Cut the mango into around 0.2cm slices.
12. Remove the set cheesecake from the fridge and distribute the mango slices evenly on top. Slightly overlap mango slices in a concentric circle at the centre of cake.
13. Pour the cooled down mango puree with gelatine into the cake pan over the mango slices. They should cover the mango pieces. Leave to set in the fridge for another 3-4 hours.
14. To serve, run a knife between the cheesecake and the tin to loosen it, remove it from the tin (with the removable base).
15. Cut the remaining mango into square pieces (it's not easy so try your best!) and pile on top of the cake to decorate! Take the cake off its base and put it on a serving plate.