If throwbacks are meant to bring back the heydays of the past, then this one deserves that.
Coming home to visit family back in the southern part of the Philippines couldn't be more rewarding with the plethora of exotic fruits. Let's start the roll: mangosteen, marang, labana (soursop), atis (custard apple), santol, and the list goes on. There may still even be an undiscovered fruit as far as my tastebuds are concerned. Nevertheless, in one of my homebound trips, I was gravitated towards lanzones which stood out to be a really intriguing fruit (and coincidentally we have one adult tree growing in my yard).
Lanzones (lansium parasiticum) belongs to the mahogany family. And I don't want to go deeper into the science of it. I'd rather that you be taken to a flavorful journey.
Lanzones can look like a bunch of grapes. Sometimes you have to fight off the black ants that are in competition with you while you pluck a piece (and they can taste really bitter!).
To describe its taste, it is almost similar to longgan or lychee but a tad bit more sour. The meat is more fragile and can't withstand high cooking temperatures. Also, the flavor is very volatile and weak. The only best way to preserve its character is using it as a topping for a cheesecake along with pieces of mango.
Lanzones & Mango Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 160 Celsius
Good for 1-2 layers of cheesecake
1,125 grams Cream cheese, Philadelphia-style preferred
225 grams Sugar, caster
310 grams Sour cream
200 grams Eggs, beaten
40 grams Cornstarch
2 Nos Lemon, zest of
15 grams Vanilla extract
- On medium speed, beat the cream cheese with the sugar until fluffy.
- Combine the sour cream and beaten eggs.
- Stir some of the sour cream mixture into the cornstarch forming a slurry.
- Stir in the remaining sour cream mixture into the cream cheese batter.
- Fold in the slurry.
- Fold in the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
- Bake in a springform pan (with the baked crust - recipe follows) for 40 minutes or until it is fully set. Gently give the pan a shake. Only the center should wobble a bit. The cheesecake will continue baking after taking out from the oven completely setting itself.
- De-mold after placing in the chiller for at least 6 hours.
Bring 500 grams of mango puree to a boil. Whisk in 100 grams of apricot jam or hot glaze allowing it to fully melt and blend with the puree. Off the fire, gently stir in with a rubber spatula about a cup of cubed mangoes and a cup of lanzones segments.
Allow to cool down to about 30 Celsius before placing on top of the cheesecake.
The trick is not to cook the lanzones and mangoes on the heat. Otherwise, the meat will get mushy and the lanzones will lose its flavor and structure.
Chocolate Crumb Crust
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius
200 grams Chocolate biscuits, preferably Oreo cookies (filling removed)
50 grams Sugar, granulated (granulated adds extra crunch)
114 grams Butter, unsalted, melted
- Crush the biscuits until coarse but not powder-fine.
- Stir in the sugar.
- Stir in the melted butter until the crumbs are completely moistened.
- Firmly press against the bottom and slightly to the sides of the springform pan.
- Chill for at least an hour before baking in the oven for about 15 minutes just to set the crust together.