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
Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.
One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.
Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.
Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!
Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.
- 100g/3½oz dried figs
- 100ml/3½ fl oz water
- 60g/2oz walnuts
- 175g/6oz ground almonds
- 3 large eggs
- 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
- Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
- Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
- Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
- Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
- Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
- Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
- Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
- Cool on a wire rack before eating
- You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
Justin can never get enough of teatime loaf cakes, so this was made with him in mind.
So, if you’ve got a packet of dates lurking at the back of your food cupboard (perhaps from Christmas) this is the perfect way to use them all up.
- 450g/1lb stoned dates
- 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 280ml/½pt boiling water or black tea
- 60g/2oz butter, softened
- 300g/12oz demerara sugar
- 2tbsp black treacle
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 450g/1lb plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 60g/2oz chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Line two loaf tins with parchment paper
- Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the boiling water/black tea and pour over the dates making sure they're all covered. Leave until it goes cold
- Beat together the butter and sugar
- Add the beaten eggs
- Gradually add the flour, salt and chopped nuts
- Add the dates and the liquid they were soaking in. Combine thoroughly
- Divide the mixture between the two lined loaf tins
- Bake in the middle of the oven for an hour. Check on them after 45 minutes to make sure that their tops aren't cooking too quickly. If they start appearing too brown, cover the tops over with tin foil for the final 15 minutes cooking time
- Allow to cool on a wire rack
- To eat, slice and spread with butter
I was browsing a bookshelf in Picture House Antiques last week and my eyes fell upon a book that I just had to have. It’s the Yorkshire W.I. Recipe Book published in the late 1950s.
According to the foreword by Chairman, Eileen Yewdall:
The present edition now being sold out, the Federation has been asked for another reprint, so a small committee has amended and added to the original, now including subjects that have come into favour since 1957, such as Deep Freeze, Cooking with Wine, Yeast Cookery, etc., etc.
The first recipe I’ve attempted is one for walnut scotchies, which was provided by the W.I. in Glasshouses. It’s a cake I’d never heard of previously – a sort of shortbread base with a meringue topping… and very tasty!
There are quite a few recipes in the book that I’d not heard of before – far less tasted. I’ll be testing out lots of them in the near future and sharing the results here with you.