Time: Around 2 hours + cooling time, but this can be broken down over two days if necessary.
Makes: 10 – 12 nice big slices (No one will want a small one.)
Level: A little challenging, but well worth it.
Need: A 20cm/8” round, loose-bottomed cake tin (ideally with reasonably high sides), 1 or 2 Bake even bands*, a cook’s torch to burnish the marzipan balls, or use the grill.
* I prefer to use these for cheesecakes rather than bake in a bain marie.
- 200g/7oz digestives, or similar biscuits
- 50g/1¾oz pistachios, crushed but not ground finely
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter + a little more to grease the inside of the tin later
Second (marzipan) layer (optional)
- Marzipan – About 150g/5½oz – 175g/6oz
Third layer (the cheesecake)
- 150g/5½oz caster sugar
- 225g/8oz full fat cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)
- 225g/8oz mascarpone
- 3 large eggs
- 60g/2oz plain flour
- 75g/2½oz mango pieces chopped small & tossed in 1Tbsp flour
- 50g/1¾oz pistachios – broken up or halved
- 100g/3½oz mango pulp
Top layer (jam + marzipan balls)
- 200g/7oz Mango jam or pulp.
- 140g/5oz marzipan
- A few more pistachios – some whole, some smaller
NB I used frozen mango pieces, but only because the available mangos were not ripe enough on the day. Whether you use frozen or fresh, simply blitz them in a food processor to create a pulp.
1. Grease and line the base of the tin. Heat the oven to 180°C / fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
2. Bash or whizz all the biscuits until finely crumbled then stir in the crushed pistachios*. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add into the biscuit crumbs. Stir well to coat all the pieces. (*Keep back at least 1 Tbsp if you want to coat the inside of the tin later, but they’ll need to be bashed or whizzed more finely.)
3. Press the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a spoon or the flat side of a plastic dough scraper. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes then set aside to cool.
4. Roll out the marzipan (about 5mm thickness) and cut to size then press gently onto the cooled base layer. (This is an optional extra, but very tasty and very “simnel-like”. However, if your tin does not have high sides it might be wise to leave out this step.)
5. (Also optional) Brush melted butter inside the cake tin and sprinkle generously with the finely ground pistachios until nicely coated. Set aside briefly, to solidify before adding the cheesecake mixture.
6. Put all the cheesecake ingredients except the mango pieces, the pistachios and the mango pulp into a large mixing bowl. Mix well, until everything is incorporated and smooth then stir in the mango pieces and pistachios.
7. Gently, pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin. Add the mango pulp in blobs and stir in to create a marbled effect.
8. Tap the tin firmly on a work surface to release any air bubbles then bake for around 40 minutes. (It needs to be almost set, with a slight wobble in the middle.) Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for at least an hour to cool, with the door slightly ajar. Place in the fridge for at least 1 – 2 hours. (If cracks appear, don’t worry, the jam will hide them.)
9. While the cheesecake is baking, make the 11 balls. For each one, roll a measured amount (10g – 12g) of marzipan into a ball. Roll in the palm of your hands until spherical.
10. To burnish the marzipan balls, either use a cook’s torch or place them under the grill (broiler in U.S., I believe.) Get the grill very hot first and keep a close eye on them. Set aside while you prepare the jam.
11. Here are three options for the jam.
- Put about 150g/5½oz of mango pulp in a saucepan with 75g/2½oz sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bring to the boil and maintain on a rolling boil until it has reduced and thickened suitably for use. Strain if necessary.
- Buy a jar of mango jam. (I say this rather tongue-in-cheek as I couldn’t find any in either of our small local supermarkets.)
- Use Apricot jam and pretend it’s mango.
12. Brush on the jam then add the 11 marzipan balls and scatter over the pistachios.
NB The marzipan balls represent the disciples of Jesus minus Judas.