Calamansi adds tangy tropical bursts of citrusy accents to the classic rich and dense New York-style cheesecake yielding a silky, smooth and scrumptious confection that will leave you reaching out for second helpings. Another classic feature is the Graham-cracker foundation for a sturdy, solid filling. Chocolate topping adds the final indulgence.
Total Time: 6 hours
Yields: 20 individual cakes measuring 9cm x 3.5cm
A: Cheesecake Filling
4 x 250g cream cheese
190ml fresh milk
250ml sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
32g plain flour
8 calamansi limes, zest and juice only
B: Biscuit Crust
115g unsalted butter, melted
330g Rosquillos (Cebuano biscuit) or Graham Crackers, crushed
C: Chocolate Sauce
1 cup Sikwate (Cebuano local cocoa) or dark chocolate
50g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated dark chocolate, for garnishing
1.Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease cake pans; line base and sides with greaseproof paper. For the sides, cut paper 3.2cm taller than the height of pans. This makes it easy to gently pull baked cheesecakes out.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine crushed rosquillos or Graham crackers with melted butter. Using a tablespoon, press spoonfuls of mixture onto base of pans to get an even layer. Divide mixture evenly among cake pans.
Filipino rosquillos are similar to Graham crackers but are rectangular instead of round.
3. In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to blend cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
4. Pour in milk. Mix it in well. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well combined. Mix in remaining A ingredients (sour cream, vanilla, flour, calamansi zest and juice). Whisk until smooth. Pour filling over crust till 2/3 full.
Calamansi are small, green juicy limes used in Asian dishes – as a dip with chilli or as an iced local lemonade paired with Indian food.
5. Bake cheesecakes using the French bain marie method: Place filled cake pans on a baking tray. Pour hot water into tray until it comes up midway around cake pans.
6. Bake for an hour. Turn the oven off. Leave cakes inside oven to cool for at least 2 hours before refrigerating.
7. For chocolate sauce, combine tablea (Cebuano local chocolate) or dark chocolate, water and sugar in a small pot.
Cook over low heat, stirring continually until chocolate melts and becomes smooth. Cool at room temperature for an hour before refrigerating cakes.
8. Remove cheesecakes from refrigerator. To unmould cakes, slowly pull greaseproof paper to loosen them. Next, invert moulds. Gently tap bottom of pan until cake comes out.
9. Place cakes on a large platter. Drizzle chocolate sauce over them. Sprinkle generously with extra grated 100% tablea or dark chocolate.
NOTE: Sikwate or tsokolate is basically hot chocolate made from full-bodied concentrated tablea or cocoa tablets mixed with hot water. It was the Spaniards who introduced Mexican cacao to the Philippines way back in 1670. Cebu’s ideal climate makes the Philippines the top producer of cocoa beans, and soon it gave rise to a rich tablea-making heritage in Cebu.
TIP: Leaving cakes in the oven after baking allow cakes to cool down gradually while the curd sets. Do not take them out of the oven too soon. This is because a drastic temperature change from a warm and humid environment to a cooler kitchen counter forces fissures to appear and the cheesecake cracking.
TECHNIQUE: Bain-marie refers to a water bath often used in cheesecake baking – this creates a uniform heat to ensure slow and gentle baking. The water bath allows cheesecakes to ‘steam-bake’ in the oven for a light and fluffy texture.
Photos: Mark John Rhe Falcon, Proprietor, Sibu Cheese Cakes, Cebu