A while ago Jordi sent me a copy of ‘Fall Baking’ (which incidentally is the best baking magazine ever). It contains lots of maple recipes – this cheesecake being one of them. I thought I’d give it a go this weekend, after being told by Jordi that the response it got was ‘freakishly awesome’ when she made it.
There are always one or two things that are likely to go wrong when you’re baking. Even more so when you’ve woken up late after spending the evening before with lovely people watching Scott Pilgrim, and are feeling too tired to bother doing anything more productive than making cheesecake.
I’ve only just taken the cheesecake out of the oven – it smells glorious – but I’ve yet to taste it, fairly convinced that I overcooked the base. It’s unlikely that the packet of ground almonds that fell in the mixture as I was trying to get flour out of the cupboard will have caused any long-term impairment to the cheesecake (the downsides of having a small kitchen and disorganised cupboards – but at least the packet was sealed). I also ran out of maple syrup when making the maple-glazed pears, so decided it would be a reasonable equivalent to mix some sugar with water to make up the little bit more syrup I needed. I’ll let you know how that turned out. For reference, Sainsburys is not a reliable source of maple syrup – I spent ages wandering around trying to find it with no success. I did however find cupcake cases with snowflakes on them. This probably doesn’t make up for the sugar + water = “maple syrup” thing…
So now for the agonising 2 hour wait for it to cool down before I can taste it. I really do hope it’s freakishly awesome…
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or self-raising as I know it)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
3 x 8oz packs of cream cheese
1x 8oz pack of mascarpone
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 light cream (or half and half if you know what that is)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla (extract)
3 eggs lightly beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 350F (170C). For crust, in a medium bowl combine the 3/4 cup flour & 3 tbsp brown sugar. Cut (or rub) in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans. Pat onto the bottom of a 10in springform pan. Bake for 10-12 mins or until lightly browned. Cool crust while preparing filling.
2. In a large bowl combine cream cheese and mascarpone, beat with an electric mixer (or use brute strength if you don’t own one, like me) until smooth. Add the brown sugar, 1/2 cup maple syrup, cream, flour and vanilla – beat until well mixed. Add all the eggs at once, stir until just combined.
3. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 35-40 mins or until a 2&1/2-3 inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken (centre will be soft, but will set up as the cheesecake cools).
4. Cool for 15mins, then using a thin knife loosen the crust from the sides of the pan. Cool for 30 mins more, then remove the side of the pan. Cool for 2 hours.
5. To serve, top with maple-glazed pears and cranberries.
Maple-glazed pears and cranberries
In a large skillet melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 4 medium peeled, cored and thinly sliced Bosc or Anjou pears. Cook for 4 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon. Cook 2-3 mins more or just until pears are tender, stirring occasionally. Serve warm over cheesecake.
Photos of the completed cheesecake to follow….