One of my Christmas wishlist items was Nigella Christmas. Sure a lot of the recipes are reworked from previous books but it's a stunning tome indeed and the reworkings are certainly of the very Christmassy kind. And because I am a Nigella obsessive I knew that I had to get it so I popped it on the wishlist. I'm usually very strict about waiting for Christmas until opening a present but I convinced my husband that I needed this gift early, if only to make one item from it in time for Christmas dinner-the Gleaming Maple Cheesecake.
It's no surprise that this cheesecake is gloriously good. The taste of the raw batter is delicious and the smell of it baking even more so. And the taste? Well it's something so aromatically beautiful that you wonder why this is the first you're seeing of this recipe. It would be perfect for an Autumnal party or even a Thanksgiving dinner too.
It's another Nigella cheesecake recipe baked in a waterbath. Most of the cheesecake recipes that I've made of hers have required a water bath and they're fantastically light and ambrosial. The other wonderful cheesecakes that I've made from her books are the Chocolate Lime cheesecake from Nigella Bites and Pumpkin cheesecake from Feast. If I would bestow a title to her, it's Queen of the Cheesecakes. With the release of secret documents, apparently Nigella declined receiving an OBE or MBE from the Queen so I hope she would accept the title of Queen of Cheesecakes, and I have a feeling she might.
Gleaming Maple Cheesecake
- 8 digestive biscuits (about 200g/7ozs)
- 75g/2.5 ozs pecans
- 85g/3oz softened butter
- 600g/21.2ozs cream cheese at room temperature (you can also achieve this temperature using the microwave on 30% heat in 30-60 second bursts but make sure you remove all of the foil!)
- 50g/1.75 ozs caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 125ml/4.2 fl oz maple syrup plus more for pouring on top
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 160C fan forced. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until crumbled finely. Add pecans and blitz again and then add butter until it comes together. Press into a greasproof paper lined 20cm diameter springform pan and place in the fridge while you do the filling (if you also line the sides with greaseproof paper it's much easier to remove).
Step 2 - Put a kettleful of water on the boil. In the cleaned food processor (I couldn't be bothered washing and drying one so I used my Kitchenaid with the paddle attachment) beat the cream cheese, sugar, maple syrup and cornflour until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Add lemon juice.
Step 3 - Put 2 layers of foil around the tin to prevent any water from the water bath from getting in. It's useful to have that wider foil for this task if you have it. I didn't and it was still ok though.
Step 4 - Place tin in a deep baking dish and pour filling into the foil lined tin. Then pour the boiling water around the cheesecake so that it sits in a bath being careful not to splash any on the cheesecake itself.
Step 5 - Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 1 1/4 hours although you may want to check at 1 hour. The outside should be set and the inside with a hint of wobble which will firm up in the fridge. Mine developed a crack in it but this wasn't a fatal one. Remove the foil and cool on a wire rack and when cold, place in the fridge overnight covered with clingfilm.
Step 6 - Unclip the springform tin and unmould from the edges. Place on a serving plate (I always leave the cheesecake on the springform base) and then drizzle over with some maple syrup.