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Gleaming Maple Cheesecake

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

This is an exquisite cheesecake, tangy and delicate, with the pronounced smokiness and subdued sweetness of the maple syrup. It has a fabulously light, smooth and voluptuous texture, and two things help ensure this: first, the cream cheese must sit out of the fridge for a good 2 hours before you make the cheesecake; second, you bake the cheesecake in a waterbath. This is very simple, and all is explained below.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

This is an exquisite cheesecake, tangy and delicate, with the pronounced smokiness and subdued sweetness of the maple syrup. It has a fabulously light, smooth and voluptuous texture, and two things help ensure this: first, the cream cheese must sit out of the fridge for a good 2 hours before you make the cheesecake; second, you bake the cheesecake in a waterbath. This is very simple, and all is explained below.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Gleaming Maple Cheesecake
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Makes: 8 slices

Metric Cups

For the base

  • 8 digestive biscuits (crumbed)
  • 75 grams pecan halves
  • 75 grams soft butter

For the filling

  • 600 grams cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 125 millilitres maple syrup plus more for drizzling
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon cider vinegar or lemon juice

For the base

  • 1⅓ cups graham crackers (crumbed)
  • ¾ cup pecan halves
  • 6 tablespoons soft butter

For the filling

  • 24 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup maple syrup plus more for drizzling
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/350°F.
  2. Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor until they turn to crumbs, then add the pecan halves and blitz again to a crumb mixture. Add the butter and process everything together until it clumps up, and then press into the bottom of a 20cm/8-inch springform tin to make a smooth base. Sit the tin in the fridge to chill while you get on with the topping.
  3. Put the cream cheese into the cleaned processor bowl with the sugar, cornflour and maple syrup.
  4. Turn the motor on and, with the engine running, break the eggs down the funnel, processing until you have a smooth mixture. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and pulse to mix.
  5. Take the springform tin out of the fridge, and line the outside with a layer of special ovenproof clingfilm, bringing it up around the top outer edge of the tin; this is to make a waterproof layer for when the cheesecake is cooked in a water bath. Do the same again, over the plastic wrap, with a double layer of foil, making sure that this, too, is brought right up to the top edge of the tin. If you can't get ovenproof clingfilm, just use the double layer of foil.
  6. Sit the foil-wrapped springform in a roasting tin, then pour in the smooth filling. Fill the roasting tin with freshly boiled water, to come about halfway up the wrapped springform.
  7. Bake the cheesecake in the oven for about 1¼ hours, though start checking it after an hour; it should be set on top but still have a hint of a wobble in the middle.
  8. Take the whole shebang-marie out of the oven and carefully lift the cheesecake out of its water bath. Peel away the foil layers and let it cool in its tin on a rack. Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
  9. The following day, or up to 2 days later, let it come to room temperature before springing it out of the tin.
  10. Sit it on a serving plate and pour some maple syrup over the top of the whole cake, drizzling a little more over each slice as you serve the cheesecake.
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/gas mark 3/350°F.
  2. Blitz the graham crackers in a food processor until they turn to crumbs, then add the pecan halves and blitz again to a crumb mixture. Add the butter and process everything together until it clumps up, and then press into the bottom of a 20cm/8-inch springform tin to make a smooth base. Sit the tin in the fridge to chill while you get on with the topping.
  3. Put the cream cheese into the cleaned processor bowl with the sugar, cornstarch and maple syrup.
  4. Turn the motor on and, with the engine running, break the eggs down the funnel, processing until you have a smooth mixture. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, and pulse to mix.
  5. Take the springform tin out of the fridge, and line the outside with a layer of special ovenproof clingfilm, bringing it up around the top outer edge of the tin; this is to make a waterproof layer for when the cheesecake is cooked in a water bath. Do the same again, over the plastic wrap, with a double layer of foil, making sure that this, too, is brought right up to the top edge of the tin. If you can't get ovenproof clingfilm, just use the double layer of foil.
  6. Sit the foil-wrapped springform in a roasting tin, then pour in the smooth filling. Fill the roasting tin with freshly boiled water, to come about halfway up the wrapped springform.
  7. Bake the cheesecake in the oven for about 1¼ hours, though start checking it after an hour; it should be set on top but still have a hint of a wobble in the middle.
  8. Take the whole shebang-marie out of the oven and carefully lift the cheesecake out of its water bath. Peel away the foil layers and let it cool in its tin on a rack. Once cooled, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours, or ideally overnight.
  9. The following day, or up to 2 days later, let it come to room temperature before springing it out of the tin.
  10. Sit it on a serving plate and pour some maple syrup over the top of the whole cake, drizzling a little more over each slice as you serve the cheesecake.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the cheesecake and leave to cool as directed. When cool, cover the tin with clingfilm, making sure the film doesn't touch the top of the cheesecake, or pop a plate on top. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Add maple syrup only on serving.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP:
Only cheesecakes made with full-fat, softened cream cheese will freeze. Leave the cheesecake in the tin to cool, cover with clingfilm, as above, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Add maple syrup only on serving.

MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the cheesecake and leave to cool as directed. When cool, cover the tin with clingfilm, making sure the film doesn't touch the top of the cheesecake, or pop a plate on top. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. Add maple syrup only on serving.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP:
Only cheesecakes made with full-fat, softened cream cheese will freeze. Leave the cheesecake in the tin to cool, cover with clingfilm, as above, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Add maple syrup only on serving.

Tell us what you think

What 2 Others have said

  • The best cheesecake ever! My family adore it. I have however found that the amounts given provide a quite thin base, so I double up the base. This makes it perfect! I've also replaced the pecans with lotus biscuits for when I have people with nut allergies. Works a charm!

    Posted by Kmart on 9th October 2020
  • Maple is a favourite flavour in my family and this is a favourite cheesecake recipe!

    Posted by RobyH on 4th February 2018
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