no joy in the kitchen these days. i had that cupcake fiasco, ruined a roasted turkey (all 17 pounds of it!), wrecked a couple batches of cookies....aww, it's too sad to get into. needless to say, my latest culinary endeavours have involved the words "reheat" and "takeout".
however, there was a request for cheesecake--not the typical new york baked style, but something slightly more asian, slightly more tropical. in saipan (a neighbouring island), the pacific gardenia hotel has a gelatin-set cheesecake topped with fresh mango, and that is what my mum was looking for; i don't have the time or dosh to hop on a (albeit 25-minute) flight over, so i had to make one. or two. or five.
still futzing with the recipe, as i found it to be lacking in depth and slightly too-soft set. however, this is the basic in case you'd like to experiment: sponge cake base, brushed with a sugar-orange liqueur syrup, followed by a mix of cream cheese, condensed milk and gelatin folded into whipped cream, and topped by "petals" of mango set in a mango-orange juice glaze. soft, light, whippy, and fruity. it doesn't taste as rich as you'd imagine, and it's easy to hoover up a good portion of it before you begin to worry about the alarming calorie content. i think i needed a bigger mango to make bigger petals for a prettier flower; however, the mango was about 2 minutes away from being overripe, and just this side of sweetly, stickily perfect. just like the cake over all.
now to make it perfect....
update 12april06: still by no means perfect, but here is the working recipe for the mango cheesecake.
1 prepared sponge cake (make your own, or store bought)
sugar syrup (you'll only need a scant amount)
orange-flavoured liqueur, to taste
2 packets unflavoured gelatin
1/2 c. water
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1 300ml can condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. heavy whipping cream
6 large, ripe mangoes
1 packet unflavoured gelatin
1/4 c. water
1/2 mango juice
1/2 orange juice
cut sponge cake in half lengthwise, and fit into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. add orange liqueur to sugar syrup, and brush or drizzle this mixture on top of the cake. set aside.
sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin into 1/2 c. of water, leave for 2-3 minutes until dissolved. add the can of condensed milk to a saucepan, along with the gelatin mixutre, bring to a boil for a minute or so, then take off the heat. cut the cream cheese into chunks and whisk or blend into the condensed milk mixture. add the vanilla extract and blend well. leave to cool thoroughly. whip the heavy whipping cream in another bowl, then fold the cream cheese-condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream. pour on top of the cake base, then refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
dissolve 1 packet of unflavoured gelatin into 1/4 cup of water, leave to sit for 2 minutes. mix the mango and orange juices in a saucepan, add the dissolved gelatin and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. leave to cool.
peel mangoes and cut the flesh along the pit into 2 "cheeks". slice the cheeks down the "short" side into uniform pieces (these will be your "petals"). arrange the mango slices by slightly overlapping each piece, and going around the pan in a continuous concentrical spiral--when it gets too difficult to continue, cut a chunk of mango off the sides of the pit to fit in the center. drizzle the juice-gelatin mix over the mangoes, filling in any gaps. chill again for another 2-3 hours, or overnight.
makes one 8-inch cake. note-i actually made these with dessert molds, and managed to make 6 3-inch desserts from the recipe.