More than 400 Spanish producers took part in the Anuga this year with a flurry of wonderful products that included the traditional wines, spirits such as sherry, cheeses, ham and meat from the currently very popular Iberico pig, fruits, vegetables, jams and marmelades, olive oils, and so much more.
I recommend the magnificent website Food from Spain which is an inspiration for discovering the impressive range of food and gourmet products Spain has to offer. There are also many recipes and wine matchs, chef profiles, events and upcoming food fairs where you can taste Spanish products round the world. There is also a section Spain for Foodies, with restaurant, tapas bars, food market recommendations, festivals and such.
At the Spanish booths and stands at the Anuga, I came across a Galician dairy called Quescrem, that specializes in cream cheeses and is also the first Galician dairy company to be rated as a technology-based company.
Imagine my delight when I found out they had a lactose-free cream cheese!
The is only one type of lactose-free cream cheese in Germany and it is rather dry and crumbly, not very creamy and certainly doesn’t taste like the original cream cheese. IT will do if you have nothing better to make cheesecake with but it is nothing to write home about.
Quescrem’s lactose-free cream cheese on the other hand is spectacular! Interestingly enough the other product has more fat 23,5% than Quescrem with 17% but Quescrem is much creamier, more spreadable and tastes delicious just on its own. The other nutritional components are about the same, although Quescrem has a touch more salt, but also less calories per serving than the other brand. I suppose it is both the method Quescrem uses to process the creamcheese as well as the good Galician milk, even when the lactose has been removed the creaminess remains, making it perfect for cheesecake! You can find my lactose-free Date, Almond & Walnut Crusted Passion Fruit Cheesecake recipe below.
I sure hope Quescrem gets imported to Germany on a regular basis as it is a much, much better product than what we have now.
I decided to create this cheesecake with another product I discovered at the Anuga, passion fruit salsa by Gaby Machel from Argentina. Called Salsa de M-Burucuya, it is passion fruit or maracuyá as it is also called purée mixed with sugar and bottled straight after picking so as to conserve all the rich vitamin A and C that passion fruit provides.
Gaby Machel’s family is originally from Europe and she is following the family tradition of preserving, she offers a range of all natural preserves, marmalades, chutneys and salsas made from the tropical fruits that grow in the humid northeastern corner of Argentina in the Misiones region where Gaby lives. The passion fruit salsa is intense and not so sweet as to overpower the fruit, the seeds are also included but do not deter from the texture of the salsa. The salsa is good for use in all types of desserts or served simply over yoghurt for healthy and fruity dessert.
„Touch special selection of 10 Botanicals for Gin and Tonic is a case for lovers of gin and tonic and curious to venture into the creation of cocktails.“
Apparently Gin and Tonic is the most popular drink among Spanish young people, with over 200 kinds of gin to be found in Spain’s bars and cafés.
These 10 botanical essentials: juniper berries, cardamom, pink pepper, kumquats, cubed pepper, star anise, licorice, rose petals, cassia, and hibicus flowers, are presented in the own little boxes, their quality in a G & T are described, and the box sets comes with ist own silver turning spoon and a 7 stage recipe for mixing the perfect enhanced Gin and Tonic. I was presented with the so-called mobile set – of three juniper, cardamom and hibicus flowers. All these Botanicals are used in the elaboration of the gins, in maceration or infusionando, and in distilling.
These gin additives were tested by my husband and a female friend, both long-time G & T drinkers, who thought it was pretty but preferred the classic „unadultered“ G & T. I think it is an age thing personally. I can imgaine these sets being fun and trendy for young cocktails beginners of a certain age group. The presentation is defintely a great present at a fair price and can be bought online here.
So with all that great background, let us move on to the cheesecake recipe.
I made this cheesecake twice to get it exactly the way I wanted it from the taste and consistency, trying different crusts and layers. As you can see from the pictures, the top is not quite smooth. That is because I became impatient and poured the top layer too quickly so that it broke through the cream cheese layer. If you pour it very slowly and evenly or use a spoon, this should not happen. I didn’t have any more cream cheese to make a third one, so you can see my “blooper” top layer and know how not to do it and you will be fine.
I decided to try to make a flour and butter-free crust, so I opted for a classic vegan non-bake crust of dates, almonds and walnuts, and although I did not pre-bake it, I did bake it with both layers and there were no problems.
It was perfect and so much better than a crumb crust. I am sure it will become a cheesecake standard crust in our house.
I also made the sweetened condensed milk myself to have it lactose-free – I used lactose-free half-n-half and sugar, see directions below, to make the passionfruit layer.
I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s Passion Fruit Cheesecake Tart.
This cheesecake is best the next day or days after. It must be very cold and set before cutting, best left overnight in the fridge. I really does improve the flavor.
Date, Almond & Walnut Crusted Passion fruit Cheesecake – lactose-free
1) Make the Lactose-free sweetened condensed milk
- 5.5 fl. ounces / 160 ml lactose-free half-n-half or coffee cream
- ½ cup / 64 grams of sugar
Stir the cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring slowly to just boiling point, stirring in between. Lower heat and simmer for 4 minutes, stir frequently and then cool. Stir once more before using.
- 1 cup / 190 grams of pitted dates
- ½ cup / 65 grams walnuts
- ½ cup / 85 grams whole almonds
- ½ tsp of vanilla essence or 4 drops vanilla aroma
- zest of ½ organic lime, washed
Place all ingredients in a food processor and grind until you get sticky crumbs.
Press into 10 inch / 26 cm cake pan with removable bottom that you have oiled first. Use you hands and proceed carefully, make a little rim up the side. Let rest until using in a cool place.
3) Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C
4) Make the creamcheese layer
- 2 packages of lactose-free creamcheese 7 ounces each / 200 grams
- 1/3 cup / 67 grams of white sugar
- zest of ½ lime, washed
- 1 egg
- a pinch of salt
On medium-high, beat together creamcheese, sugar, and salt until fluffy and creamy. Add the egg and lime zest and beat quickly just to combine.
Pour the creamcheese layer into the crust, use a spatula to divide evenly.
Bake 18 minutes. Remove and cool as completely as possible, at least 30 minutes in a cool place.
5) Lower the oven temperature to 325°F / 160° C.
6) Make the passion fruit layer
- 5 fl. ounces / 150 ml lactose-free sweetened condensed milk (see recipe under 1)
- ½ cup of passion fruit salso or purée such as by Gaby Machel
- 4 egg yolks
- a pinch of salt
- 4 grinds of freshly ground strong black (or chili if you like) pepper
In a bowl beat the condensed milk, passion fruit, egg yolks, salt and pepper (chili) until smooth and well mixed.
Retrieve your cheescake and slowly!!!! and carefully!!!! pour or even better spoon the passion fruit mixture over the cheesecake, use a spoon or spatula to even out.
Put the cake in the oven and bake for 22 minutes.
Remove and let cool completely – the best is overnight.