Baked white chocolate cheesecake with tamarillos

White chocolate cheesecake with tart tamarillo topping.
White chocolate cheesecake with tart tamarillo topping. Photo: William Meppem

Tamarillos are sweet, tart and slightly bitter: perfect to offset the creamy richness of a cheesecake. If, like me, you're not usually a fan of white chocolate, be prepared to be surprised. The cheesecake will need to be made at least a day ahead and refrigerated before serving. If tamarillos are unavailable, substitute with fresh berries.

Ingredients

For the base

70g roasted whole almonds (skin on)

180g digestive biscuits (e.g. Granita)

100g butter, melted

For the filling

500g white chocolate, roughly chopped

500g Philadelphia cream cheese

4 eggs, lightly beaten

300g sour cream, fridge-cold

1 tsp orange zest

seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod

For the topping

6 ripe tamarillos

100g castor sugar

seeds scraped from half a vanilla pod

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Lightly grease and line a 23cm springform tin.

2. For the base, place almonds in a food processor and pulse a few times – you want the nuts to be about ½-centimetre pieces rather than turning to powder – then transfer to a medium bowl.

3. Add biscuits to food processor and blend until they have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add to the bowl with the almonds, then pour in melted butter. Use your hands or a wooden spoon to combine, then press the crumbs firmly into the tin's base. Use the back of a spoon or the base of a glass to help even out the crumbs, then transfer to the fridge until ready to bake. (Prepare up to 3 days ahead and keep refrigerated.)

4. For the filling, place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir from time to time, until melted, then remove from the pan. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly, stirring gently.

5. Place the cream cheese in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, then reduce speed to low and gradually add the eggs, followed by the sour cream. Add the orange zest and vanilla seeds, followed by the melted chocolate – which should be tepid – and beat on a medium-low speed until combined.

6. Pour the mixture into the chilled biscuit base and smooth over the top, then place on a baking tray and into the oven. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the middle of the cheesecake wobbles slightly when you gently shake the pan. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in there for an hour, with the door propped open with a wooden spoon. Remove from the oven and cool completely before wrapping in cling film and chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours or, better still, overnight, until the cheesecake is cold and firm.

7. Prepare the tamarillo topping up to a few hours before serving. With a small sharp knife, cut an X at the pointed end of the fruit, then place in a bowl. Pour boiling water to cover and leave for 5 minutes before draining. Peel, then slice the tamarillos into thick circles and place on a large plate. Mix the sugar and vanilla seeds in a small bowl, and rub with your fingertips until the vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed. Sprinkle the sugar mix over the sliced tamarillos and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes to draw out the juices before refrigerating until needed.

8. When ready to serve, release the cheesecake from the tin and slide it onto a serving plate. Spoon over the macerated tamarillos, reserving some in a small bowl to serve alongside. Use a hot knife – blade dipped in hot water, then wiped clean – to cut into slices and serve immediately.