- Written by Cynthia Presser
Passion fruit and chocolate is a classic combination in Brazilian cuisine, but this chocolate cheesecake has also an unexpected twist: vanilla balsamic! The passion fruit sauce adds a tropical touch to this decadent dessert.
Ingredients for Crust:
- 3 ½ cups graham crackers, roughly crushed
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Ingredients for Filling:
- ¾ cup dark chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup milk chocolate, chopped
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup fine sugar
- 3 tablespoons vanilla balsamic vinegar
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
Ingredients for Sauce:
- 1 cup frozen concentrated passion fruit pulp*
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 small passion fruit
Crust - add the graham crackers, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder to a food processor. Pulse for about 2 minutes, until it is all incorporated. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie dish, cover and place in the refrigerator.
Filling – preheat oven to 325 F.
Melt dark and milk chocolate together in the microwave or in a hot-water-bath. Set aside.
Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Place egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk in sugar and vanilla balsamic. Slowly add melted chocolate. Add cream cheese and mix until it is all incorporated. Set aside.
With an electric mixer beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites into the chocolate mix, until it is all incorporated. Remove pie crust from fridge and pour filling over crust.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center of pie comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Sauce – in a medium sauce pan, combine passion fruit pulp and sugar; bring to a light boil and turn off the heat. Dissolve gelatin in 2 tablespoons of warm water and whisk into the pan. Gently stir passion fruit into pan. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until sauce starts to thicken.
Pour sauce on top of pie, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream, or home-made whipping cream.
*Frozen concentrated passion fruit pulp can be found at Latin or international grocery stores. The brand Goya has a great option. If you cannot find it frozen, you can make your own: in a blender mix the pulp of 2 large passion fruits (including seeds) with 1 cup of water, blend until incorporated; strain and use.
Vanilla balsamic vinegar adds a little tart to break the richness of this dessert. It adds that unexpected flavor that leave people trying to guess what it is. I get my vanilla balsamic at The Olive Twist, in Fort Wayne, Indiana; it is also available online through their website, www.theolivetwist.com.