When chef AJ Reyes of Radical Culinary first introduced to me his Free Form cheesecake at an event he was asked to make dishes for, I couldn’t believe how such a fancy looking dish was made out of ingredients I always saw at the grocery store and that it involved absolutely no baking.
And it’s just right we’re not touching an oven as the temperatures of late have been making us feel we’re being baked ourselves. Here then is a chill dessert that’s easy to make but will surely impress your friends and family.
For the cheesecake
250 g cream cheese
250 g all-purpose cream
Lemon zest or vanilla extract, for flavoring
For the banana fritters
1 box Magnolia Pancake and Waffle Mix
Sesame seeds or chopped nuts
Sliced strawberries, or any fruits or jam you prefer
1. For the cheesecake itself, melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a glass bowl placed over boiling water. Chef AJ says that the white chocolate serves as a “glue” for the cheesecake as we are not using eggs.
2. At room temperature, mix in the cream cheese and the all-purpose cream in the chocolate. Chef AJ prefers Magnolia Cream Cheese and Magnolia All-Purpose Cream.
3. Before placing the cheesecake in the chiller for two hours, you may add your preferred flavoring such as vanilla extract or, in chef AJ’s case, some lemon zest
4. When you’re about to serve your cheesecake, slice up some bananas and coat them lightly in pancake batter or waffle mix. Choose bananas which are starchy so they don’t lose them form as you fry them such as cavendish or latundan. For extra crunchiness, chef AJ suggests sprinkling some sesame seeds. You may use chopped up nuts as well. Fry the fritters until the batter turns a golden brown.
5. For the “crust” of the free-form cheesecake, you may opt to bake some brownies. After which, cut them up into little pieces and bake them again at a lower temperature to make them crusty. An easier alternative would be crushed cookies or graham crackers. Sprinkle them over the cheesecake according to your liking.
6. When serving your cheesecake, you can get creative with the garnish. For chej AJ, he sliced up some strawberries and added some salt and sugar to them so the juice would come out and make a little syrup. You can also add a bit of olive oil for extra richness.
7. Serve and enjoy!
Photos by Paolo Tabuena