Friday, 26 March 2010

Saba’s Almond and Pineapple cheesecake

This cheesecake is one of my treasured recipes. I have been making this much before I learned my basic cooking or much before anything that is posted on this blog. This recipe was given to me by my sweet sweet friend saba, and so the whole credit goes to her. This recipe falls into my favourite dessert list and it does the same for whoever tasted it. Now, if you ask me who Saba is, she is one of the best friends I met in the university - a lovely lady with an attractive character and is a great cook too. We cracked jokes, laughed so much and our no-boundary midnight talks over phone were all memorable. I just had a course with her during my university days and that was one of my most enjoyed courses. Even though we just had a single course together, we became so close to each other in no time. She is a gem of a person and is now a mother of a little princess. Saba started cooking much before I did and her foods are finger licking good. Her recipes are too good and the results are guaranteed to be perfect. This is one of the oldest in my recipe collection and one of the best recipes that I return to over and over again. Thank you sabah for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Saba’s Almond and Pineapple cheesecake

For the base:

20 digestive biscuits

3 large tbs butter


450g canned Pineapple (Use 1 cup of the syrup from the can and ¾ cup of pineapple; not all of it.)

200 mls whip cream (double cream)

3/4 cup whole almonds

12-14 heaped tablespoons caster sugar depending on taste.

400g cream cheese.

3 teaspoon unflavoured gelatine

For the glace:

1 cup shop bought pineapple juice

1 ½ Tbsp cornflour

2 Tbsp sugar (optional)

Few drops of yellow food colouring

For caramelized almonds (appx. measurements):

Heat 4-5 Tbsp of sugar to a saucepan and heat until it stsrats turning deep golden colour.

15-20 whole amonds


1. Break the biscuits roughly and tip it in the food processor. Process until you get coarse crumbs or fine crumbs, just the way you like it. (It will be around 3 1/4 cups of crumbs). Melt the butter in a saucepan and add it to the crumbs in the processor. Pulse until well incorporated.

2. Line the base and sides of a loose bottom cake tin or spring-form cake tin with baking paper. You may use a clear pyrex dish as well. Tip in the biscuit crumb mixture and press with the back of the spoon firmly to make an even base. Refrigerate until you prepare the filling.

2. Mix gelatine in 1 cup of pineapple juice and heat on low heat until all the gelatine crystals are dissolved. Set aside until cool, but NOT set.

3. Grind sugar until. Grind almonds by adding few tablespoon of powdered sugar. (Don’t grind almonds without sugar; the oil from the almonds will make the mixture sticky and it won’t grind well).

4. In a blender, add cream cheese, double cream, cooled gelatine and pineapple juice, 3/4 cup chopped pineapples, sugar and almonds to a blender and blend until smooth. Spread this mixture slowly on top of the cooled biscuit base. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hrs or preferably overnight.

5. For making the glace, Add pineapple juice, food colouring, corn flour and sugar into a saucepan. Heat the mixture until thick. Let it cool slightly. Pour the glace over the cold cheesecake and spread with the back of the spoon.

6. Garnish with caramelized almonds and serve cold. For making caramelized almonds, Heat 4-5 Tbsp of sugar in a saucepan and heat until it starts turning deep golden colour. Don’t stir with spoon. When it reaches this colour, add almonds and stir well. Pour the almonds to a greased aluminium foil, separate the nuts using a spoon and set aside until cooled. Separate it and arrange on the glace.

Notes and tips:

1.Make sure you use the unflavoured gelatine for the recipe and NOT the pineapple flavoured gelatine or any other flavours. These are jelly pudding and it doesn’t work for this recipe.

2. Sabah has suggested to use Philadelphia cream cheese and Ell- n-vire (not sure of the spelling). You may use other brands of cheese and cream as well.

3. Add more or less sugar depending on the sourness of the pineapple. Normally 12 tablespoon is ideal. But if the fruit is sour, add 14 tablespoon or even 16.

4. Glace and nuts for garnishing is purely optional. I just made them to look appealing.

5. Arrange the caramelized nuts on top just before serving since caramel tends to dissolve as it comes in contact with the glace.

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