Maple Syrup CheesecakePosted: January 25, 2014
This recipe was a spur-of-the-moment thing which came about after watching one of my favourite foodie shows, You Gotta Eat Here, with my daughter.
It’s the Canadian version of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, but with a much more personable host (comedian John Catucci). The basic premise is that 2-3 popular eateries are visited per episode, and at each the owners demonstrate up to three of their most popular dishes. In this particular episode, waffles were made at one of the establishents, and served with a maple-syrup sauce. My daughter enjoyed the program and asked if she could have waffles for tea, so I whipped up a batch, complete with sauce. She loved the waffles, but didn’t care for the sauce. I, however, thought the sauce was amazing and also thought it could be awesome as a cheesecake. Using no additional sweetening, the maple syrup really is the star of the show, with the vanilla and orange rounding out the flavour beautifully without being intrusive.
I’ve used an enriched but unsweetened shortcrust pastry, containing ground almonds, because I like the contrast between the dry crispness of the pastry and the richness of the filling. It’s an adaptation of a 17th century recipe for ‘royal paste’. Use your own favourite if you prefer. I also wanted to see if it was possible to bake a light-textured cheesecake without using a waterbath and without spoiling the delicate flavourings. The method I ended up employing was a little longer and at a lower temperature than usual, but I was delighted with the results – no cracks and a wonderfully light texture. I ate the slice seen in the picture above, and had to get my husband to lock the remainder in his car for his lucky work colleagues on Monday. It’s that good.
Maple syrup has managed to achieve superfood status, containing amongst other things, beneficial antioxidants and minerals, and having fewer calories per ml than honey. Just 60ml apparently contains 100% of our daily Manganese requirement – best excuse EVAR to eat 1/4 of this pie in one go! 😀
Maple Syrup Cheesecake
For the pastry
180g plain flour
60g ground almonds
120g unsalted butter
1 large egg
zest of 1 orange
almond milk to mix
beaten egg to glaze
- Put everything except the almond milk into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- With the motor running, gradually add the almond milk, pausing between additions to let it be absorbed.
- When the mixture comes together into a ball, tip it out and knead smooth.
- Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
- Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out to about 5mm thick.
- Line the prepared tin, easing the pastry into the sides of the tin.
- Shape and crimp the edges, trimming off any excess.
- Return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
- Remove the pastry-lined tin from the fridge and line it with baking parchment.
- Fill with rice or baking beads to weight it down and bake for ten minutes.
- Remove from the oven and take out both the parchment and weights.
- Bake the now empty pastry case for a further five minutes.
- Remove the pastry case from the oven and brush the inside of the pastry with beaten egg.
- Bake for 2 more minutes. This will ensure the pastry is both mostly cooked and also seal it against the moisture of the filling.
- Set aside to cool.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C, 140°C Fan.
600g cream cheese at room temperature
zest of 2 oranges
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
- Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture carefully into the pre-baked pastry case and smooth the top.
- Place the filled tart onto a baking sheet.
- Using a length of cooking foil folded into 4, loosely wrap the tart, folding over the top lightly so that the sides and edges of the pastry are protected from the direct heat of the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Open the oven and slide a flat sheet of foil over the top of the tart. This is to keep the surface of the filling from becoming too dark. Don’t fold it closely over the tart, as this will trap moisture inside.
- Bake for another 30 minutes and check the consistency. The centre third of the filling should wobble slightly when the tin is jiggled. You might need to bake it a little longer if there was a lot of moisture in your cheese/eggs/syrup.
- When you’re satisfied with the consistency, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside to cool for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Overcooking and/or sudden cooling can lead to the cheesecake forming cracks, but using this method, I managed to avoid both.
- When completely cooled, remove from the tin and chill. If placing in the fridge, cover with cling film to prevent the cheesecake from drying out.
- It needs no garnish, just enjoy it as is.