Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guest Blog Post: Mango Cheesecake

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Today, we have one of my oldest friends, Avani, guest blogging for us. Avani and I have been friends since we were approximately 10 or 11. We met at a Diwali dance practice and have basically been inseparable since. No really. We could write volumes of books about our stupid inside jokes or silly things we laugh about and we are often connected through various mediums throughout the course of every day (gchat. email. text message. scramble with friends. phone. fb wall). Our favorite story to share with others is how, when we were 22 and visiting friends in NYC, Avani got a slice of pizza at that place across from Port Authority. I ate 95% of it, yet she was the one who ended up with food poisoning the next day. We also both share a deep love for the color pink, and the Middleton sisters. These days, Avani is a journalist based out of Seattle, and loves eating food as much as I do. 

Welcome, Avani! 

Sidenote: I have had this cheesecake before, when I was little and Avani's mom would invite us over, and I probably tried to ("stealthily") consume 100 pieces then. I'd still do the same now. 
My roommates and I were having people over for Indian food night and Reetu, the head chef, asked me to make my mom's specialty: Mango cheesecake. Officially one of the only things I consider myself an expert at making :)

I have to give credit for this recipe for my mom, but I made some changes and variations to make it healthier (if that's possible for cheesecake) each time I make it. It's a great go-to dessert recipe because prep time is minimal and the instructions are relatively simple but people are always impressed by someone making cheesecake.

{Making the crust - crushed graham crackers and sugar}

{Pouring the filling into the crust}

{The topping}

{Ready to go back into the oven for a few minutes!}

This is the mango pulp I used. You only need a 1/2 cup of it for the recipe.  Since we had leftover pulp, my roommates and I mixed it with some vodka, soda, and cranberry juice to make martinis later on!

{All sliced up, ready to go!}

Note: It's best to let it set for 24 hours, or at least overnight, so plan on making it the day before you want to serve it.

Mango Cheesecake, recipe by Aparna Nadkarni 

Serves 15-20, depending on how big you cut the slices


For the crust:
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (you can get the packaged crumbs, or if you have stress/anger to get out, get low-fat graham crackers and crush them yourself. Just put them in a ziplock and mash with the back of a measuring cup)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar.
For the Filling:
  • 24 oz plain cream cheese (I've also made this with strawberry-flavored cream cheese for strawberry cheesecake. Just don't put the mango pulp in the filling)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs (For my eggless friends, I simply take the eggs out. It makes it a bit harder to pour, but doable. Or you can substitute in a cup of applesauce). 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (this time I made it, we had run out of vanilla so I threw in some almond extract. It was just as delicious!)
  • 1/2 cup mango pulp, generally found at specialty Indian stores (1 8-oz can of crushed pineapple works, as well).
For the Topping:
  • 24 oz plain sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. 

For the crust: Mix the crust ingredients and line it on the bottom of a rectangular (13x9" ) cake pan. 

For the Filling: Beat eggs until fluffy. Add the other filling ingredients and beat and mix. Pour over the crust and bake in your preheated oven for about 1 hour.

Mix the topping ingredients together, pour over the cheesecake and bake again for 6-7 minutes.
Take out of the oven, cool and refrigerator for a day or so. 

Thanks, Avani, for this delicious blog post! I am definitely going to be trying this out soon - maybe I can make strawberry cheesecake squares to dip in chocolate fondue! 

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