Foodiva's Kitchen: Fruit from my Homeland 4 : Chempedak Cheesecake

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fruit from my Homeland 4 : Chempedak Cheesecake

This local, sausage-like fruit called Chempedak (Artocarpus champeden) is native to southeast Asia and terribly, terribly aromatic. How aromatic? Well, when it's fully ripe, the aroma fills up not just my kitchen but the whole house! At which point someone in my house would say something to the effect of, "When are we going to eat that darn fruit?", or "Aren't you going to make something out of that smelly thing??". It's THAT aromatic, ok!

Juicy chempedak fruit

The taste of the fruit is similar to the related Jackfruit and Breadfruit, both of which I've blogged about previously. The sweet, juicy pulp of chempedak is most frequently made into fritters by dipping the pitted flesh in batter and frying (yumms!). The best thing about this fruit is that the seeds are also edible once they are roasted or boiled, and they have that incredibly comforting taste and texture of chestnuts.

Chempedak seeds.
Soak them overnight in water before boiling or roasting, this helps peel the inedible skin off.

Anyway, today I looked in the pantry and saw these: chempedak, a packet of Philadelphia cream cheese and some Digestives. Now, the world can't get more globalised than that, can it? So, here's my creation for you to try out - Chempedak Cheesecake.

Chempedak blended with sourcream

Roasted chempedak seeds, de-skinned and sliced.

Pour the caramel-seed mix on top of the cheesecake, and you're ready to rock and roll, baybeh!

Chempedak Cheesecake with Caramel Topping

Chempedak Cheesecake with Caramel Topping

250g (8oz) cream cheese
2 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 cup chempedak flesh1 cup sourcream
1/3 cup milk
150g Digestives biscuits, crumbled
70g (1/2 stick) butter

Caramel topping:
7-8 roasted chempedak seeds
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sourcream

1. Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F. Line 12 standard muffin cups with muffin papers.
2. Prepare the biscuit base first: Either crumble the biscuits with your hands or use a food processor. Melt the butter, cool slightly and combine with the crumbs. Press down a tablespoon full of this biscuit mix at the bottom of the muffin cup. Set aside.
3. Beat cream cheese with sugar until fluffy, then add egg yolks one by one.
4. In the meantime, cream the chempedak with the sourcream and milk. Fold into the cheese mixture along with the cornflour.
5. In another bowl, beat egg-whites until stiff peaks form. Fold this into the cheese and cempedak mix above. Spoon into the muffin cups, fill it up to 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a tester inserted into center comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool completely before peeling off the muffin paper.

Caramel topping:
1. Roast the soaked chempedak seeds under in a very hot oven for about 15 minutes until the skin starts to split. Be careful, as these seeds pop explosively! You don’t want to take out an eye just for bragging rights.*grins*
2. Once cooked, leave to cool and then peel outer skin off. I left the inner brown skin intact because it’s edible and it’s too tedious to peel even using a potato peeler (because of the small size). Remember, this is a really labour of love to use the seeds, so if you’d rather go off and do other fun stuff, just simply ditch this part. Hey cooking should be fun, not exasperating!
3. Make the caramel by dissolving the sugar with 2 tblspns water, then leaving it to boil slowly under medium heat - do not stir. Once the caramel has turned amber in color, remove from heat and mix in the sourcream. Just beware the spluttering, for it will surely sp-luhht-ter...
4. Add the sliced chempedak seeds to the caramel sauce, and spoon on top of a cooled miniature cheesecake.

Take a bite and be transported to a quiet spot in my tropical garden!

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