I have said in the past that I’m Not a Baking Blogger, and this is true, but for once I’m actually quite proud of wot I made and I thought you might like to make it too. The pretty pilfered pic above shows the original recipe, butterscotch pecan cheesecake from the Hummingbird Bakery book Cake Days – it’s the first recipe I’ve made from this book and I like it, it is good. But being me of course I can’t leave anything alone, so my unillustrated version was a maple pecan cheesecake. Yum. Basically just the same, but the glaze was darker (in both colour and flavour).
I have Notes. This is by way of being quite a chatty recipe. I give you the Official Way of doing it (though the ingredients list is mine, not the book’s; they vary in quantities of sugar, and the respective presence and absence of maple syrup and vanilla essence), and the Woolly Way.
This cheesecake is made in many stages and requires plenty of cooling between each one; you should probably make it a full day in advance.
Not quite Hummingbird Maple Pecan Cheesecake
For the biscuit base:
220g digestive biscuits (I always use chocolate digestives, on general principle and because I like to have them around)
100g melted butter
For the cheesecake topping:
700g Philadelphia cream cheese (recipe specifies full-fat, I always use light, but not extra light, that’s the Devil’s work)
80g caster sugar (I always use golden)
2tbsp maple syrup (frankly I never actually measure out maple syrup, just chuck in a healthy goop)
3 large eggs, beaten
For the maple glaze:
20g dark muscovado sugar
2tbsp maple syrup
2tbsp milk (again, recipe says full fat, I use semi-skimmed because that’s what I have)
120g icing sugar
One 20cm springform cake tin. (Mine is more like 24cm I think.)
- Line the base of the tin with baking paper. THEY say. I say, if you have a non-stick tin, that’s completely unnecessary; however I do wish I’d lined the sides with paper, which would probably make for a much prettier cake once the tin is removed – mine showed a fair bit of crinkling and crackling where I had to cut the tin away from the glaze. Crush the biscuits.
- Mix biscuit crumbs with melted butter, spoon into the tin and press down evenly. Leave to set in the fridge for 20-30min. (I don’t think I left it that long, actually.)
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. (You’re only going to cook it at 160, but a good hot start helps to defeat the Dreaded Cracks.)
- Mix the cream cheese, sugar and maple syrup until smooth. (I do recommend using an electric mixer of whatever kind.) Set aside a few pecans for decoration and chop the rest. Slowly add the eggs and chopped pecans, mixing thoroughly, then pour onto the chilled biscuit base.
- Time for the actual baking bit. Now, I have done extensive but mostly unsatisfactory cheesecake crack prevention testing. There are two basic methods. Either you go the water bath route (the Hummingbirds like this one),** or you go the long, slow cooking and cooling off route. I can’t do the water bath because my equipment isn’t suitable, so I do slow cooking – preferably leaving the cake in the (switched off) oven overnight, without ever opening the door. This recipe of course already calls for hours and hours of cooling/setting, so I only left it for a couple of hours. It did crack, but not much, and frankly – it’s covered in glaze. Nobody will ever know. Either way, it goes in the oven, the dial goes down to 160 and stays there for 35-45min, until it’s all pretty and golden and firm to the touch but with a slight jiggle in the middle. Allow a bit of extra jiggle if you have time for in-oven cooling.
- When it comes out of the oven – immediately, or after a lengthy cooling down period – let it sit around for a good long time to get completely cold (the recipe says to chill in the fridge, but I didn’t have time for that).
- Once it’s quite cool, make the glaze. Put the butter, sugar, maple syrup and milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the icing sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Pour over the cheesecake and decorate with the pecan halves. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours. Nom.
Armin generally assesses food with one simple frame of reference: “You can make this for my birthday,” or “Please don’t make this for my birthday.”* This time, it was “Did you really make this from scratch?” and “I will expect nothing less than this for my birthday,” which sounds as if it was maybe a bit borderline, but it was meant more in a wow, raising the bar sort of way. I think. Anyway, recommended.
* He also compliments outfits thusly: “You can wear that to meet my friends.”
** Wrap your cake tin in tinfoil – twice if you’re particularly nervous about water getting in – then place it in a roasting tin and fill with water up to about 5mm from the top of your cake tin.