Holiday maple cheesecake
Holiday maple cheesecake
Are there any other Great British Bake-Off fans out there? I don’t know about you, but whenever I watch an episode and they feature an irresistible treat, my mouth waters and I am overcome with the urge to bake and eat my own version. Well, cheesecakes were featured recently and there was no way I could fight it. Serendipitously, this new recipe crossed my path around the same time.
But here’s the thing about cheesecake: it is truly irresistible. With only two of us at home this holiday season, I was leery of making a whole cheesecake that would sit there tempting us until it was gone. So, I split the recipe in half and used a 6-inch springform pan, which turned out wonderfully and was the perfect amount for this mouthwatering treat. That said, you could definitely make the full version for a larger crowd or put it in the freezer until your cheesecake craving hits again.
Serves: 12 to 16
Start to finish: 3 ½ hours, plus time for cooling
4 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
4 large eggs
1/3 cup granola
1/2 cup maple syrup
For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325°F (163°C). Grease bottom and side of 9-inch springform pan. Process cracker pieces and pecans in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds.
Add flour, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine, about 2 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 5 pulses.
Using your hands, press crumbs into even layer on prepared pan bottom. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, firmly pack crumbs into pan. Bake until crust smells toasty and is browned around edges, about 18 minutes. Once baked, immediately reduce oven temperature to 225°F (108°C) degrees. Let crust cool completely.
For the cheesecake: In a clean, dry processor bowl, process cream cheese and maple syrup until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed to avoid lumps. With processor running, add eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Pour batter into cooled crust.
Firmly tap pan on counter and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to top. Gently draw tines of fork across surface of batter to pop air bubbles that have risen to surface.
Once oven has reached 225°F (108°C), bake cheesecake on aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet until edges are set and center jiggles slightly when shaken and registers 165 degrees ½ inch below surface, about 3 hours.
Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, until cold, about 6 hours. (Once fully chilled, cheesecake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days, or frozen.)
To unmold cheesecake, run tip of paring knife between cake and side of pan; remove side of pan. Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cheesecake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
For the topping: Sprinkle granola around top edge of cheesecake. Drizzle maple syrup inside ring of granola. Spread with back of spoon, as needed, to fill area inside granola ring.
Warm knife under hot water, then wipe dry. Cut cheesecake into wedges and serve.
(This recipe was adapted from the October/November 2020 Cook’s Country magazine from America’s Test Kitchen.)
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