Foodiva's Kitchen: Cashew Crusted Dragonfruit Hearts and Matcha Cheesecake

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cashew Crusted Dragonfruit Hearts and Matcha Cheesecake

You gotta hand it to boredom, it makes you do something you normally won't. Just like doodling on a piece of paper led to oh, say, the creation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming with his friend Peter Laird), doodling recipes in my mind led to this slightly outrageous creation - Cashew Crusted Dragonfruit Hearts and Matcha Cheesecake.

Cashew nuts and biscuit base

Well, this dessert was not totally unfounded. I had leftovers that needed to be used up, and I didn't want to use them for anything that I normally do. There was half a dragonfruit from my scones session, some matcha powder from my churros post, half a packet of Digestives and a large jar of roasted cashew nuts left over from that day I cooked biryani rice and made my creamy pear-cashew sorbet. Oh, also a packet of cream cheese that I wanted to bake with but hadn't up to this point.

The mental doodle started with the cashews, condensed milk and matcha, three of my most favourite flavors in the world. The cheese was the anchor ingredient and made me think, okay, a cheesecake would be good. Then the visual part of my brain reasoned that I needed to brighten this dish up a little and what goes well with green? Yep, you guessed it, the ever dazzling fushia pink that dragonfruit provides! The hearts were originally supposed to be swirls on the green filling, but somehow I stopped swirling when I saw the much cuter hearts. Especially since they were fuschia pink hearts. Yeah.

Little fuschia hearts, for your sweetheart. Ask them to marry you, quick!
(Or if they already have, ask them to go with you on a romantic cruise, or out dancing ;-))

This cheesecake was surprisingly easy to make, and even easier to photograph! (No melting ice cream or precariously leaning food stacks, thank goodness). If you don't believe me, here's the recipe:

Cashew Crusted Dragonfruit Hearts and Matcha Cheesecake
Pastry base:
2 cups Graham crackers or Digestives, crumbed
2 cups cashew nuts, roasted and finely chopped
¾ cup butter, melted and cooled

Cheesecake filling:
1 packet (250g) Philadelphia cream cheese
1 ½ cups sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
½ small dragonfruit
1 tablespoon matcha powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/325F. Grease an 11-inch pie pan and set aside.
2. Prepare the pie base: Place cashew nuts in a food processor until finely chopped and pour into a bowl. Crumb the biscuits the same way, then add this to the bowl of cashew nuts. Add the cooled, melted butter and mix well. Press crumb mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge.
3. For the filling: In another mixing bowl, whisk the cheese until smooth, then add the condensed milk. Mix until combined before adding the eggs one at a time.
4. In the meantime, peel, slice and puree the dragonfruit in a blender. Divide the cheese batter into two portions. In one bowl add the dragonfruit puree, and into the other add the matcha powder.
5. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the dragonfruit cheese batter for the hearts decoration. Pour the rest of this red batter onto the base of the pie dough and bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is slightly firm to the touch.
6. Take the pie tin out of the oven and carefully pour the matcha cheese batter on top of the dragonfruit layer.
7. Drop little dots of the extra dragonfruit mix on the matcha layer and run a knife through each of them to form little hearts and swirls.
8. Place it back in the oven and bake further for 25 minutes until a rod inserted into the centre of the pie comes out clean.
9. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
PS. The bottom dragonfruit layer turned an orangey-pink color upon cooking, probably because it was in the heat for too long. The dragonfruit hearts on the top, meanwhile, retained their fuschia color. So strange, this cooking business!


Koci said...

I love this cheesecake! Those little hearts are so cute! Plus, this sounds like a really cool flavor combination. Perhaps I'm also a bit biased because that unbaked green filling is almost the exact color of my bedroom. hehe Whatever my reasoning, this looks awesome!

Subterfuge Diva said...

LOL... Your comments cracked me up, Koci! Now I can't get the vision of not only the green walls of your boudoir, but I also imagine fuschia hearts all over them! The flavor of the green tea/matcha go really, REALLY well with the cashew nuts, btw. Who knew?

Speakeasy Kitchen said...

The cheesecake looks gorgeous, with those precious, bright pink hearts!

Subterfuge Diva said...

Thanks, Speakeasy! We love those precious hearts too!

Caroline said...

This is just so pretty, need to find pink dragonfruit badly.

Indonesia Eats said...

Very cute!

Yes, Maya. Manado is in the island of Sulawesi. It's the capital city of North Sulawesi province. Which part of Sulawesi have you been to?

Subterfuge Diva said...

Pepy, I've been to Ujung Pandang, in the south. Had to fly to Jakarta first, then took a flight to Sulawesi from there. No direct flights, even now. I remember the friendly people and the breathtaking sunsets!

Victoria K. said...

Wow, this is gorgeous! I'm in love with the colors!! I bet it tastes amazing!!

Indonesia Eats said...

Aha! Ujung Pandang is known as Makassar and has a large Muslim population, totally different with Manado (heavy Christian beliefs). South Sulawesi is also popular with the cocoa production. Have you tried the fruits of cocoa?

Subterfuge Diva said...

Victoria, the matcha-cashew-condensed milk combo tastes great! The dragon fruit, despite it's striking beauty, didn't add any flavor but it absorbs the other flavors really well. Plus, it's a great conversation piece to have dragon fruit in any type of cooking, don't you think?

Pepy, no I have not yet tried the cocoa fruits! Maybe it's about time I went back there again... Actually my last trip there was 17 years ago, when I was young, free and single! It's been a while, but I haven't forgotten the place :-)

elra said...

Gasp .... this is the most beautiful cheesecake I've ever seen. Bookmark!

Michael Toa said...

that looks so beautiful Maya. love the addition of cashew nuts for the base and the filling sounds fantastic.

Indonesia Eats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indonesia Eats said...

Cocoa fruits taste like mangosteen. The inside parts are also looked like mangosteen.

Spicie Foodie said...

Wow, this looks delicious! And the little design is so pretty great recipe. See it does pay off being bored sometimes ;)

Subterfuge Diva said...

Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. I guess this was easily the prettiest cheesecake I've ever made plus it has a pleasantly unique taste. So yes, boredom has its rewards! Little fuschia hearts to you all <3 <3 <3...

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