Sam Choy’s Pineapple Cheesecake Robert Eng
Pineapple flavors the rich filling and dresses the plates in this island version of cheesecake. The simple candylike crust features Macadamia nuts, another island touch.
- Macadamia Nut Crust
- Macadamia nuts - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons, melted
- Cream Cheese - 1-3/4 pounds, at room temperature
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Orange Zest - 1 teaspoon, grated
- Lemon zest - 1 teaspoon, grated
- Eggs - 4, large
- Sour Cream - 1-1/4 cups
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 5 tablespoons
- Pineapple - 1, peeled, cored, and finely diced
- Midori Syrup
- Midori liqueur - 1 cup
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Creme Anglaise - 1 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/2 cup, whipped to stiff peaks
- Fresh mint sprigs - 8
To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform or cake pan with a circle of parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a blender or food processor, grind the nuts to the texture of coarse meal. Add the sugar and blend. Add the melted butter gradually and blend until all the nut-sugar mixture is moistened. With your fingers, press the mixture evenly into bottom of the prepared pan to create a 1/4-inch-thick crust. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
To make the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. In a food processor or a mixer on slow speed, cream the cheese, sugar, and zests together until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beaters with a rubber spatula at each stage of preparation. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Mix in the sour cream. Add the heavy cream and mix thoroughly. Pour half of the batter into the cooled crust in the pan.
Place the pineapple in a towel, roll up the towel, and wring as much juice as possible out of the pineapple pieces. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup pineapple evenly over the filling, avoiding the center and outside edge of the batter. Reserve the remaining pineapple for garnish. Pour in the rest of the filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. Press down any pineapple that has floated to the surface so that it does not burn. Set the filled pan in a deeper pan and fill the outer pan halfway up the cake pan with hot water. Place in the oven and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make the syrup: In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, blend the Midori and sugar. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and cook until reduced to a thick syrup, 5 to 7 minutes.
To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of creme anglaise on each dessert plate and spread to cover the plate. Unmold the cheesecake and cut into 8 slices, dipping the knife into hot water to clean it between each cut. Center a slice on each plate. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe a rosette of cream onto the wide portion of each slice. Garnish with a mint leaf. Place 2 tablespoons of reserved chopped pineapple next to each slice. Place the Midori syrup in a squeeze bottle and squeeze in small loops around the plate in the creme anglaise. With the point of a sharp knife, pull through the syrup to form a pleasing design.