Maple syrup pecan cheesecake

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RECIPE: It’s very easy to disregard older cookbooks because the styling of the food is out of date but sometimes you keep going back to them because the recipes are so reliable and constantly produce delicious results. I am on a mission to use up what’s in my fridge and cupboard and needed a dessert for mother’s day, so went back to a trusty old Family Circle mini-cookbook and found this recipe. I used butternut biscuits instead of plain because I had some that needed using, and only put pecans in the crust and as decoration, not in the actual cheesecake mix, as I didn’t have enough left. It made no difference.

COMPONENTS: This is a standard cheesecake crust. Make sure you process the crumb fairly fine but not until it’s dust. Lumps will make it hard to press into your pan, but you don’t want to lose too much texture because that helps it break apart with your spoon when eating it. You must have your cream cheese at room temperature to get a smooth consistency when you beat it. I didn’t put pecans in this mix, but they would need to be fairly finely chopped (not big chunks). The topping is just stirred together with a spoon – easy!

ASSEMBLY: Assembly is done throughout the process. Make sure your base gets the 30 minutes in the fridge because it needs to set to stop it slumping in the oven (like mine did a little around the top edge! – especially if you’ve used a springform pan with straight sides). Once the cheesecake has cooked, very gently add the topping so it doesn’t spill over the edge or dig a hole into the cheesecake itself. Place one pecan per intended slice, evenly around the edge. I was serving this up to my restless family and didn’t get a chance to decoratively pipe the whipped cream around the edge (it was served on the side), but it would look lovely with a rosette of cream between each pecan, or perhaps set the pecans further in and do smaller rosettes of cream around the entire edge.

IMPRESSION: You could taste the pecans and you could taste the maple syrup. It was beautifully smooth, not overly rich and definitely a keeper. You could barely distinguish the sour cream topping but I’m sure it made a difference to the creaminess of the dessert, and I didn’t miss the pecans in the cheesecake itself. I liked it with the butternut biscuits, which added more texture than the plain biscuits would have. Lovely with fresh whipped cream and fairly quick to assemble.

Recipe from Family Circle’s Cheesecakes, Pavlovas & Trifles

Maple Syrup and Pecan Cheesecake
(Australian measures)

Base
100g plain sweet biscuits
80g pecans
60g butter, melted

Brush a shallow 23cm pan (fluted loose-bottomed flat tin or a springform pan) with oil. Place the biscuits and pecans in a food processor and process for 30 seconds or until finely crushed. Transfer to a bowl, add butter and mix until combined. Press mixture into base and sides of prepared tin. Chill until firm.

Filling
125g cream cheese
2 tbs soft brown sugar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tsp cornflour
1 egg
2 tbs sour cream
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Using electric beaters, beat cheese until light and creamy. Add sugar, syrup and cornflour, beat until smooth. Fold in pecans. Spread mixture evenly over base in tin. Bake at moderate 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until set.

Topping
2/3 cup sour cream, extra
2 tbs maple syrup, extra
2 tbs soft brown sugar, extra
8-10 whole pecans (one per slice of finished tart)

Combine sour cream, syrup and sugar in small bowl. Spread over hot cheesecake. Place whole pecans around edge of flan, bake for a further five minutes or until sour cream mixture is just starting to set. Cool. Refrigerate until cheesecake and topping are firm (1-2 hours). Decorate with whipped cream.

Serves 8-10

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