In the early spring, loquats ripen on trees all over Bermuda. This fruit is somewhere between an apricot and a kumquat in size and flavour. Children snack on them, or use them as projectiles while waiting for the bus. Loquats find their way into pies, liqueur, upside-down cakes, chutneys, jams and this cheesecake!
2 lbs cream cheese (4 boxes), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Bermuda Gold Liqueur (loquat cordial or apricot brandy)
1 generous tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup loquats, chopped (tinned Roland brand are fine). You can substitute apricot preserves-but it really isn’t the same. Reserve 6 loquats, halved, for decoration
For the crust:
3/4 cup Graham cracker crumbs or crushed vanilla wafers
3-4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
For the topping:
1/2 cup sour cream, mixed with 1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup toasted coconut
Prepare a 10-inch springform cake pan with a crumb crust made from mixing together the melted butter, crumbs and spices, and pressing into the bottom and slightly up the sides.
Pour the filling into the pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 2 hours, or until the tester comes out clean and the cake has turned gold around the edges.
Put a layer of sweetened sour cream on top while still warm. Cool completely, chill overnight in the fridge. Decorate with loquats and toasted coconut before presenting to ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’