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Tamarillo Cheesecake

Finding out how to utilise tamarillos when in season is worth doing!  Tamarillo, also known as tree tomatoes, can grow to about two meters tall with clusters of fruit that slowly ripen to a deep red. The taste can be described as “unusual and interesting – even as “an acquired taste”.  See the image below.  The unique tropical flavour which reminds of a mix between passion fruit and guava and a hint of other fruits, turns a cheesecake into a sublime dessert or tea time treat.

Prep time 20 minutes

1. Part of the tamarillo syrup is used in the cake. The remainder is garnish or pour into a bowl to serve with cheesecake slices.
2. When tamarillos are not in season, replace the tamarillo syrup with canned or fresh apricots, peaches, passion fruit or berries.

Tamarillo Syrup
4 tamarillos, soft, ripe and ready to use
2 Tbsp (30 ml) raw or white sugar
¼ tsp (1 ml) ground cinnamon

Biscuit Crumb Crust
125 g favourite plain vanilla biscuits
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter, slightly softened

Cheese Filling
1 cup (250 ml) cream
2 cups (500 g / 500 ml) Ricotta or cream cheese
1 x 395 g can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence
2 Tbsp (30 ml) gelatin
½ cup (125 ml) water

  1. Cut the tamarillos in half, scoop out the filling and place in a 500 ml jug or bowl, suitable for microwaving. Add the sugar and cinnamon, cover partly with cling wrap and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until syrupy. Stir well and cool.
  2. Line the base of a 22 cm spring-form tin with baking paper.
  3. Place the biscuits and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until fine. Turn out in the prepared tin and press the mixture evenly onto the base.
  4. Beat the cream until stiff. Place the cheese, condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla into a bowl and beat together well.
  5. Place the gelatin and water into a bowl and microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute until melted and syrupy. Stir a few large spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into the gelatin and mix well. Add the mixture to the bowl with the cheese and mix very well. Add the whipped cream and fold in until combined.
  6. Pour half of the mixture into the empty bowl and stir in ½ cup (125 ml) of the tamarillo syrup. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth evenly. Place large spoonfuls of the plain mixture on top of the tamarillo layer and spread evenly.
  7. Drizzle thin streaks of tamarillo syrup over the top of the cake and refrigerate at least one hour before removing the cake from the tin to a serving platter.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.