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
I’ve been making this version of baked vanilla cheesecake since way back in 2004! It’s a Gordon Ramsay recipe that I tore out of a weekend newspaper magazine supplement. Luckily the page has been protected inside a plastic punched pocket (that’s the proper word for one of those things apparently!) otherwise it would have disintegrated by now from all the use it’s seen.
It’s a dessert that I go back to again & again. It’s really easy to make and is simply delicious – especially after it’s had a few hours to cool down. The consistency is light and melt-in-the-mouth; so much better than those recipes that use gelatine – which I don’t eat as I’m vegetarian.
It’s great served with a ginger or summer fruit compote. We had some with a lovely blueberry compote made from frozen blueberries (much cheaper than the fresh ones and you can get them year-round). Of all the Cakes & Bakes I’ve made over the years, this has long been Justin’s favourite!
- 100g unsalted butter, plus a little to greases the tin
- 200g digestive biscuits (I sometimes use ginger nuts with about half the above quantity of butter)
- 50g caster sugar (Again, I use half this amount if using ginger nuts)
- 500g cream cheese (I've used both Philadelphia and mascarpone successfully) at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 300ml soured cream
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Lightly grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin
- Melt the butter gently in a small pan on a low heat. Roughly break up the biscuits and and place them in a food processor. Process the biscuits for 2-3 minutes until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the sugar, then pour in the melted butter and process for 30 seconds to combine
- Put the biscuit mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a tablespoon to smooth the surface evenly. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes
- Rinse out the processor bowl. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl and process for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cornflour, sour cream and vanilla essence and process for 30 seconds to combine
- Pour the filling into the tin and bake in a low oven at 150°C for 1 hour. When cooked, the cheesecake should be well-risen, with a golden brown top. It should feel slightly firm to the touch - if the mixture still appears wet, continue to bake a little longer. When cooked, turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the door ajar. When completely cool, place in the fridge. Serve with summer berries and pouring cream
- Cooking the cheesecake in a bain marie or using a Wilton Bake-Even Strip stops the top from cracking