Sunday, June 19, 2016

BB: Mango Bango Cheesecake

Mango Bango CheesecakeLast summer, faced with life getting busier and looking at an upcoming Baking Bible assignment of the multistage Fourth of July cheesecake (take a look at Marie's), I made the decision to drop out of the fully committed group of Alpha Bakers, although continuing to bake along when time permitted and when the recipe was right for me. However, maybe that upcoming cheesecake that got me looking at another one in the book, the Mango Bango Cheesecake. I baked a half recipe for my birthday cake last summer and left myself (I hope) enough notes to blog it now as the Alpha Bakers are tackling it.

The Mango Bango Cheesecake uses a mix of cream cheese and full-fat Greek yogurt, leading to a softer and lighter result than an all-cream cheese variety. It also uses a sponge cake or ladyfinger base--I saw lady fingers at the supermarket and went with that option instead of baking a genoise.

For the mango, Rose calls for canned mango pulp. That's a semi-regular purchase for me, so I knew the places to look. The large Indian grocery store near me, Patel Brothers, had the brand Rose suggested, sweetened with sugar and not corn syrup. I always have to hunt a bit before remembering that the canned mango at Patel is over in the produce section, not in the canned goods where other canned fruits are. (They always seem to have three or more varieties of canned mango available.) The store is a madhouse on a weekend evening, with its cramped checkout area full of families with carts piled high. I was an outlier with my 3 cans of mango puree.

The cheesecake started with pressing the canned mango pulp through a sieve for extra smoothness, then concentrating most of the puree by a third by cooking it down in the microwave. I prepped the 6" springform pan (for my half-size cheesecake) by lining the bottom with trimmed ladyfingers.

Then came the easy batter. I ground some cardamom seeds with part of the sugar, then then sugar and cream cheese were beaten together, then egg yolks, lime juice, vanilla, and salt. Last to go in was the Greek yogurt and the remaining un-concentrated mango puree.

Mango Bango CheesecakeHalf of the batter went into the pan atop the ladyfinger base, then half of the concentrated mango was dolloped on and swirled a bit, then the batter, dolloping of mango, and swirling repeated. The cheesecake baked in a water bath. It was hard to tell the baking time for the half-recipe as the only guidance on when it's done is that the center should jiggle slightly after it has sat in the oven for an hour after baking. (Don't know what you would do at that point if it was undercooked.) Mine was very liquid at 10 minutes under the full-size cooking time, so I ended up baking it the recommended time for the full recipe. The top browned a bit, but in the end the texture was fine and it was very moist.

Mango Bango CheesecakeThe last touch is another round of mango puree, pushed through sieve, then combined with cornstarch and heated to get a topping. Result: very pretty cheesecake.

Taste test: excellent flavor in the cheesecake, with the mango blobs and topping giving a nice flavor burst. It was very nice with raspberries on the side, probably also would have been wonderful with some of Rose's raspberry sauce. The ladyfinger crust added absolutely nothing but (I guess) some ability to shift the finished cake onto a serving plate--it doesn't disintegrate, but the effect is basically soggy cake. That neutral base is probably the intent, but I'd like to try this cheesecake with a cookie crust for a more interesting texture and taste contrast. I will have to do some research to see if the yogurt in the cheesecake will add so much moisture that even a cookie crust would get soggy.

Bottom line: this is a little more trouble than a one-bowl cheesecake, but worth it. I might skip the pressing through a sieve especially for the mango that goes into the cheesecake body, as I don't think a bit of texture would bother me (and there was very little residue in the sieve anyway). I would like a more interesting crust--I've had this sponge-cake base on several different cheesecakes and found it added nothing every time. Graham cracker would be too jarring in the flavor department, so I would consider other cookie-crumb options.

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  1. I agree about the cake base not being very flavorful. Maybe a coconut cookie base? Your cheesecake looks delicious!

  2. Nancy this is just beautiful Excellent suggestion for Rose's raspberry sauce and a textured base. I remember seeing an almond coconut cheesecake crust somewhere and thought that sounded good. Wonder what a coconut macaroon base would be like, maybe ground with some sort of nuts? Be fun to play with.

  3. it looks absolutely perfect! i'm not near the recipe just now but for my basic cheesecake, i give the option of adding some cornstarch or using all yolks which binds in the liquid. it makes it a little less creamy/light but results in a less soggy bottom!