Ch. 33: It’s always Mango Cheesecake season

If you ever ask me what my favorite season is, my answer is always the same: mango season. They’re my favorite fruit and certainly popular among everyone here. Even with social distancing still in effect, we managed to get a bunch of mangoes from the tree at my Uncle’s house which have been sitting on the counter and getting sweeter each day. Additionally, I had a bag of frozen mangoes in the freezer that I wanted to put to use- hoping I could save some of the fresh ones for just plain eating. I decided to go for a no bake cheesecake- having already done two baked cheesecakes in this whole lockdown baking adventure. I ended up choosing a recipe from The Cooking Foodie because I liked the way their finished product looked and I luckily had all the ingredients on hand. In the battle for baked vs. no bake cheesecake, it really comes down to personal preference. I tend to favor baked cheesecakes because they have a better texture which is custardy because of the eggs. No bake cheesecake often relies on gelatin to set the mix which not everyone is a fan of. I’m personally on board, so I decided to get cracking. 

I started by making a simple graham cracker crust. The Cooking Foodie calls for just crushed graham crackers and melted butter, however I threw in about a tablespoon of sugar because buttery graham crackers isn’t good without a little sweetness. I then pureed the thawed frozen mango only to find out that I was short about 100 grams in order to make the filling. Still I progressed, not wanting to use too much of the fresh mango. I should note that I wasn’t too worried about getting it super smooth. Besides, I doubt anyone would complain about biting into a chunk of mango- at least no one I’d associate with! The cheesecake filling is quite simple- starting off by beating cream cheese until smooth, then adding in heavy cream and whipping until thick and airy. Additionally, gelatin is poured into some cold water to bloom while some white chocolate is melted in the microwave. I don’t often make no bake cheesecakes, so the addition of white chocolate was interesting, yet it made a lot of sense. White chocolate hardens when cold, so it gives the cheesecake structure while also providing sweetness without the grittiness that granulated sugar has. The melted white chocolate, mango puree and some lemon juice and zest are added to the cheesecake base and mixed until well combined. If you’ve worked with gelatin, you know that it needs to swell in water and then be melted once more before it’s added into your mix. The Cooking Foodie has a cool trick of “tempering” the melted gelatin with some of the cheesecake base before adding it all in. This prevents the warm gelatin from solidifying on contact with the cold cheesecake batter which would be unpleasant. All of that gets poured into the pan with our pressed in crust and placed in the fridge to set for several hours. Given that I was a little short on mango puree, I decided to skip the mango jelly topping and instead just sliced up two fresh mangoes, placing them on top in a flower pattern. 

Several hours later I retrieved the cheesecake and ran an offset spatula around the edge to loosen it from the springform pan. I’d recommend putting a sheet of parchment (or acetate if you have it) to get clean edges when you release the pan. The finished cheesecake sliced beautifully- being perfectly set and with a crust that held intact. I actually made this in a smaller sized pan which made for a taller cheesecake which looked impressive. The taste was great- with the creamy mango filling being complimented by the pieces of fresh mango on top. I would say that it needed that extra 100 grams of mango puree that I was short to really make that flavor pronounced. Also, do not skip the lemon zest and juice as it really cuts through the sweet white chocolate and helps that mango flavor come to the forefront. The overall texture was a lot better than most no bake cheesecakes- not having any of the jello like rigidity that you’d expect. It was smooth and creamy, with a nice crunchiness on the crust and some bits of mango throughout. Personally, I’d continue to go the route of frozen mango so you can have this dessert even when mango season isn’t in full effect. 

Full Recipe | Method by The Cooking Foodie:

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