There are a lot of things I miss about working in The Rocks, but one in particular is being so close to La Renaissance Patisserie! While my willpower was tested on a daily basis, I thought I did pretty well to only succumb to the 3pm sweet craving occasionally. I love their amazing macarons – in my opinion some of the best in Sydney. My favourite has always been the Chocolate and Passionfruit, which I thought was a strange combination at first, but one that I have completely fallen in love with.
For a while I’ve been thinking about how I can combine these flavours into a dessert. I decided to try making a swirled Cheesecake Brownie with a hit of passionfruit, and I couldn’t be happier with how the idea panned out! The flavours work so well together – the tangy passionfruit is a perfect foil for the rich chocolate. I think it’s a perfect flavour combination for spring.
I adapted David Lebovitz’s recipe, which was totally delicious, as I knew it would be, but also ridiculously simple to prepare. I loved the fudgy brownie with the creamy, tangy cheesecake mixture. One thing I love about brownies is that they are perfect as they are, and portable enough for your picnic basket. But if you wanted to dress them up, all they need is a generous scoop of ice cream to turn them into an impressive dessert (and some Persian fairy floss if you want to be really fancy). I decided to top mine simply with some extra passionfruit pulp.
Passionfruit Cheesecake Brownies
Adapted from David Lebovitz
• 85g salted butter
• 200g dark chocolate, chopped
• 130g sugar
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 70g flour
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
• Pinch salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 200g cream cheese
• 75g caster sugar
• ¼ cup passionfruit, juice only, seeds discarded
• Passionfruit pulp, to serve, optional
Line a rectangular brownie pan with non-stick baking paper. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F).
Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and beat in the sugar and then the eggs. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla extract. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, caster sugar, passionfruit juice and vanilla until smooth. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a knife or skewer and swirl the ream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set. Let cool, then lift out the baking paper and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares. Top with additional passionfruit pulp to serve, if desired.