Baked cheesecake is both Justin’s and my favourite kind of cake. I often make it for special occasions such as when we’re having people over to visit. The last time friends came to stay, I made a New York maple-walnut cheesecake. It was such a hit – with us and them – that I’ve been looking forward to making it again and sharing the recipe on here.
I found the recipe on the New York Times website. It’s pretty similar to the one I make using a Gordon Ramsay recipe, with one… or should I say two great additions. Including maple syrup in cheesecake is delicious; Tossing and coating walnuts in hot maple syrup and then sprinkling them over the top is candied heaven on earth!
I made a few little adjustments to the NYT’s original New York maple-walnut cheesecake recipe. For a start, I cut down on the quantities; much as I love cheesecake, 12 portions is too much for just the two of us. I also swapped the Graham cracker base for the more usual British version of digestive biscuit crumbs. Lastly, I doubled the amount of maple syrup in the actual cheesecake mixture as I thought the flavour was a little too subtle.
Also, the original method included an initial hot bake at 260ºC/500ºF for 15 minutes. This, I think, is to give the top of the cake a nice golden brown colour. It would have completely burnt my first attempt if I hadn’t been keeping an eye on it. This time around, I lowered the temperature and duration of this stage… it turned out perfectly!
The walnuts can be substituted for other nuts, I’d think that pecans or Brazil nuts – or both – would be wonderful.
- 200g/7oz digestive biscuits (about 14 biscuits)
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted
- 600g/21oz cream cheese
- 2tsp cornflour
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 120ml/4fl oz maple syrup
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 60ml/2fl oz double cream
- 60ml/2fl oz maple syrup
- 1tsp cornflour
- 115g/4oz walnut halves
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- In a bowl, grind the digestive biscuits to fine crumbs (I use the end of a rolling pin)
- Add the melted butter to the bowl and toss with a fork until the butter has moistened the crumb mixture
- Grease the sides of a 23cm/9-inch, spring-form cake tin and scatter the crumbs evenly over the pan bottom, pressing it down using the bottom of a straight-sided glass or back of a spoon
- Bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool
- Raise the oven temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy (about 2 minutes)
- Combine the flour and the sugar and add this mixture and half of the maple syrup to the cheese in thirds, mixing after each addition
- Add the eggs and the yolk to the mixture, one by one, beating after each addition
- Add the heavy cream and mix again
- Pour the batter on to the cooled base and bake for 5 minutes
- Lower the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/Gas mark ½ and bake for a further hour
- Switch off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the cheesecake cool in the oven for ½ hour
- Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours but no more than 24
- In a small saucepan, heat the remaining maple syrup over a low heat until it bubbles. Allow to simmer gently for 1 minute until it has thickened slightly
- Whisk in the cornstarch and turn off the heat
- Add the walnuts and turn to coat
- Spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool and harden into praline
- Sprinkle over the cheesecake