The lilikoi fruit is like no other…tart, sweet , aromatic, exotic, delicious, and the plants do very well in our tropical climate. The lilikoi blossom is one of the most gorgeous of all flowers though the fruit on the other hand is nondescript, tucked between the plant’s vigorous vines. As the fruits ripen, they drop to the ground. The skins will begin to shrivel up and look quite homely, but the pulp inside will be at its peak flavor. At this stage you might choose to eat the pulp and seeds alone or with yogurt, or strain the juice and use it to make a refreshing lilikoi margarita. The vines are very productive, so I freeze the juice in small containers to use later for lilikoi jelly. This recipe for lilikoi cream cheese tart is one of the most beautiful and delicious desserts. It is a terrific culmination to a fine dinner party.
The most beautiful blossom!
Most fruits when peeled or sliced are faintly aromatic. The lilikoi on the other hand is exotically fragrant. It’s hard to describe the scent but your entire home will smell wonderful.
I use a food mill to process the lilikoi fruit. The seeds and heavy pulp are left behind leaving you with the most fragrant lilikoi juice.
The lilikoi cream cheese tart does not require a glaze however if you prefer to use one, there are a couple of options. Sometimes I gently soften homemade lilikoi jelly in the microwave and brush it over the top of tart. Other times I will prepare a glaze made with lilikoi juice, sugar, and gelatin that I adapted from The Baking Wizard. Either way, it’s best to do this the day you plan to serve it as the glaze has a tendency to soak into the cream cheese tart. You may also add some of the lilikoi seeds to the glaze for a pop of color.
- Special Equipment - 10" tart pan with removable bottom
- For the crust
- 13 full sheets Honey Maid honey graham crackers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (or butter), melted
- For the Cream Cheese Tart
- 1 8 ounce container + 9 level tablespoons (1½ c + 1 tablespoon total) of Green Valley lactose free cream cheese at room temperature (or regular cream cheese)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon fresh lilikoi juice
- 1 large egg, beaten
- For the glaze
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons fresh lilikoi juice
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add sugar and pulse a few times to combine with the graham cracker crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in melted Buttery Sticks. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides. I find that using a small pyrex custard cup helps with forming the crust perfectly around the edges. Disposable gloves come in handy as well when pressing the crust into the pan. Bake the crust on a baking sheet for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
- Using an electric hand held mixer on medium speed, mix together the room temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add lilikoi juice and mix until combined. With a rubber spatula, stir in the beaten egg. Pour mixture into the graham cracker crust. Bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes. The cream cheese tart is done when the cake's center has a slight jiggle when you gently shake the pan. It will firm up as it cools. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before adding your glaze.
- Once the tart is cool, prepare the glaze. Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let this sit undisturbed for a few minutes. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine the lilikoi juice and sugar over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture feels hot to your fingertip. The mixture should not boil or the gelatin may not set properly. Remove the pan from the heat and pour half of the hot liquid into the gelatin mixture. Stir quickly to dissolve the gelatin making sure the mixture is smooth. Transfer the gelatin mixture back to the pan, stirring to combine with the remaining juice. Prepare an ice water bath in a medium bowl that will comfortably fit the saucepan. Place the saucepan in the ice water bath and with a spatula stir the lilikoi mixture constantly until it is cold and becomes syrupy. Pour some of the glaze over the cooled cream cheese tart spreading it evenly. You may not need all of the glaze. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours. Another option for a light glaze is to soften lilikoi jelly in the microwave and brush it over the top of the tart.