Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mango Swirl Cheesecake!

I have to say: whoever invented the food processor is a GENIUS! The simple machine can chop, puree, blend, cream and mix…. All in one easy-to-clean bowl!

Previously, I’d always assumed you need a hand mixer or if you’re fancy, a stand mixer, to make cakes and cookies and frosting… basically to make anything that involved the direction “cream together butter and sugar.” As it turns out, a food processor will do this just as well!

I said in my last post that no one ever bakes at the Cape Cod house. Instead, someone (or a few someones) brings an abundance of fruit, snacks, store-bought coffee cake and cookies. Often for dinner, we mix up a salad and grill fish and vegetables or steam lobsters or some combination of all of those. The Cape is NOT a place where one goes hungry.

Since the Cape house has never been the place to bake, it’s never been fully equipped with baking tools — no hand or stand mixer, no muffin pan, no cookie sheet, etc. After the gentlemen went to the store for ingredients, I scoped out the kitchen and decided whatever I chose to make would have to be baked in a 9 x 13 baking dish and mixed by hand
…until my eyes fell on the Cuisinart.

I correctly guessed that a tool that could puree would also be able to whip up butter with sugar. Thus the Mango Swirl Cheesecake Bars I’d imagined earlier in the day were able to become a reality.

This dessert was easier to make than it sounds, but did require a fair amount of preparation time. From start to finish, it required over 24 hours because I needed to let the Mango Curd set overnight. The handy food processor helped make each step move quickly though.

I got the idea to make a Mango Curd when I opened the fridge and saw several very ripe mangos and decided they needed to be pureed into something quickly or risk getting tossed in the trash. Thank goodness one of my favorite bloggers already had a Mango Curd recipe posted at Smitten Kitchen!

The idea to swirl Mango Curd on top of Cheesecake bars came from Sugar Crafter where a Meyer Lemon Swirl Cheesecake caught my attention a few months back. I tweaked the concept a bit further by adding some freshly squeezed lime juice to the cheesecake to better accompany the mango and by making an almond crust just because I prefer almonds to walnuts and thought the flavors would all go well together.

Mango Curd (Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 1 to 2 cups
  • 2-3 small ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 scant cup sugar (slightly under 1/2 cup)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally
  • Add yolks and puree 15 seconds longer
  • Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on any chunks with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible
  • Discard any large chunks in sieve (Note: I had no chunks to discard)
  • Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) and whisk puree until thickened for about 10 minutes
  • Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight

Mango Swirl Cheesecake Bars (Recipe adapted from All Recipes)
Makes about 2 dozen bars
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Mango Curd
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  • Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add in the flour and chopped nuts and stir until mixture becomes crumbly
  • Press pastry mixture into 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes and let cool
  • Beat together the white sugar, and cream cheese until smooth
  • Add eggs, milk, lime juice, and vanilla and mix well
  • Spread filling mixture over baked crust
  • Drop spoonfuls of mango curd onto cheesecake and swirl with a knife
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and let cool on wire rack before refrigerating

Once cool, cut and serve and enjoy!

Happy Baking!

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