I have something important to announce. I always have your best interests at heart and, in the name of the greater good I simply had to try out this cheesecake recipe. Now, here is the important part. Are you listening? I have just one thing to say and it is of vital importance...
MAKE THIS CHEESECAKE. NOW.
It will do you good, I promise... Ok, so perhaps it won't actually physically do you much good, but I'm fairly sure that it will release endorphins or some other equally mood-enhancing energies.
I have made a Nigella cheesecake before and, at the time, waxed lyrical about its perfect silky texture. I'm certain that cooking a cheesecake in a waterbath is the only way to achieve such sensuous perfection and I vow never to go back. This one is made very much the same way - you simply need to make sure that the tin is completely watertight by wrapping it in several layers of foil. It really is worth it.
I've always loved the flavour of maple syrup since first discovering it when a Canadian friend of the family came to stay when I was a child and bought gallons of the stuff as a present. In this cheesecake, the maple effect is two-fold. First there is a gentle maple flavour within the cheesecake itself and then, the entire thing is liberally doused with the stuff. This gives the finished pud a glorious shiny sheen and is decadent sweet contrast to the bite of the filling.
Ideally, you should make this the night before you want to eat it (and up to two days ahead if you want to get ahead!). Importantly, the cream cheese really must be room temperature if you are to achieve that silky Nirvana for which you've been searching.
I served this at a dinner party I held and even managed to win over a couple of cheesecake-haters. Give it a try, I'm sure you'll be thrilled with the results...
Gleaming Maple Cheesecake
For the base:
8 digestive biscuits
75g pecan halves
75g soft butter
For the filling:
3 x 200g packets of cream cheese, at room temperature (this is VITAL)
2 tsp cornflour
125g maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 170C.
2. Blitz biscuits in food processor, add the pecans and do the same until you have crumbs. Add the butter and whizz until it all comes together. Press into the bottom of a 20cm springform tin and pop in the fridge to chill.
3. Clean food processor. Then add cream cheese, sugar, maple syrup, cornflour. Whizz together and with the motor running, add the eggs one at a time. Add vinegar/lemon juice and mix until you have a smooth batter.
4. Take tin out of fridge and line the outside of the tin with a double layer of extra strength foil - bring it right round under the base and up the sides. If you are worried, you could wrap a layer of ovenproof cling film before doing the foil.
5. Pour in the filling mixture and pop in a roasting tin. Boil the kettle and fill the tin until the water comes half-way up the side of the tin. Bake in the oven for around 1 1/4 hours, until the cheesecake is set on top but still wobbles a little in the middle.
6. Take roasting tin out of the oven and carefully lift out the cheesecake. Peel away the foil layers and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or preferably over night.
7. Let it come to room temperature before releasing from tin when ready to serve. Pop on a serving platter and pour maple syrup all over the top!
I am away on holiday for the next 10 days - we're off to Tuscany! Normal service will resume on my return...