Piecakens (pies baked into cakes) are an American creation that once took social media by storm. We’ve created our own local version for Chinese New Year: the Orange and Pineapple Tart Cheesecaken. Essentially, it’s a large pineapple tart snuggled in a light no-bake cheesecake topped with zesty mandarin oranges and jello. A layer of toasted macadamia nuts on top of the tart provides texture and tempers the sweetness of this luscious dessert. The piecaken takes its name from the turducken, that Christmas showstopper comprising a chicken stuffed in a duck that is stuffed in a turkey. This version of the piecaken may take a bit of work, but it’ll look gorgeous on your Chinese New Year dessert table, especially when you slice through the colourful layers of buttery pastry, zingy pineapple jam, crunchy nuts, creamy cheese, refreshing jelly and oranges. It’s yummy, fun and incredibly festive.
Orange and Pineapple Tart Cheesecaken
Serves 12 to 15
1 cup Chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
1 ½ cups Pineapple tart jam (buy ready-made pineapple tart jam from Phoon Huat)
1 packet Orange-flavoured jello
1 can (312g) Mandarin oranges in syrup, drained
2 ¾ cups Plain flour
1 tsp Fine sea salt
225g Very cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ - ½ cup Ice-cold water
200g Digestive biscuits
100g Unsalted butter, melted
6 sheets Leaf gelatine
280ml Whipping cream
600g Cream cheese, softened at room temperature
170g Caster sugar
280ml Heavy/thickened cream
- Make the tart dough first. Place the flour and salt into a large bowl and cut the butter into the flour using two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Drizzle a few tablespoons of the cold water, a little at a time, over the flour mix. Use your fingertips to rub the water into the flour till the dough starts to come together. It should be evenly moist, not wet and shaggy, and hold together when you press a handful into a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather and press it into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, pat them into discs and wrap each out tightly with cling film. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before using. (You will only use half of the dough; the second disc can be frozen for up to 3 months and used for making other pastries).
- Preheat oven to 200°C. Unwrap one disc of dough and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to 0.5mm thick and lightly press it into a 20-cm tart tin. Prick the dough evenly over the bottom and side with the tines of a fork. Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper and fill the pie weights, dried beans or raw rice these will keep the dough from rising as it bakes).
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and remove the paper and pie weights. Return the tart crust to the oven and bake till it is completely dry and golden-brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in its tin.
- Fill the cooled tart crust with an even layer of pineapple jam filling. Then top with a layer of toasted macadamia nuts.
- Meanwhile, make the cheesecake crust. Place the biscuits in a large zipper bag and bash with a rolling pin till they resemble fine sand.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix with the melted butter so that the biscuit crumbs are soaked. Now tip the mixture into a 24 to 26-cm springform pan and press down with a metal spoon or the base of a drinking glass to form a tight, even layer over the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
- To make the cheesecake filling, soak the gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the whipping cream into a pan and bring just to the boil and remove from the heat.
- Take the gelatine leaves out of the water, squeeze them to remove excess water and stir them into the hot cream. They should dissolve instantly.
- Beat the cheese and sugar with an electric mixer till smooth and creamy. Add the cream and gelatine mixture and beat till smooth.
- In another bowl, beat the heavy cream so that it falls in soft peaks. Fold into the cheese mixture using a rubber spatula.
- Pour a third of the cheesecake filling into the springform pan over the cheesecake crust. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes (keep the remaining filling covered at room temperature).
- After 30 minutes, place the tart on top of the refrigerated filling, then pour over the rest of the cheesecake filling and smoothen the surface with the back of a spoon. Arrange the drained mandarin orange slices on top of the cheesecake and refrigerate.
- Now make the jello according to its packet instructions. Pour a thin layer of jello over the cheesecake, enough to submerge the mandarin oranges sitting on top of the cake. Refrigerate till the entire cake is set, about 4 hours or overnight. To serve, remove cake from the springform tin and slice with a sharp knife.