Maple and Walnut Cheesecake
There is a distinct affinity between walnuts and maple syrup, and this light cheesecake marries the flavours beautifully.
In order to increase the maple flavour the syrup here is reduced and thickened. The same process is used to make a lovely maple walnut sauce to pour over before serving. Don't forget to make this well ahead to leave time for the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven.
This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Nov 1996) Serves 6-8
Begin making the base by crushing the biscuits in a food processor or with a rolling pin into a bowl then add the walnuts and combine with slightly less than 1 tablespoon of cold water.
Now press the mixture firmly into the tin, making sure you have an even layer, then bake it for 15 minutes. While that's happening, make the filling. Put the 2 oz (50 g) walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them for 8 minutes in the same oven. When the base is cooked remove it and reduce the oven temperature to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C). You can also watch how to toast nuts in our Cookery School Video on the right
Next, pour the maple syrup into a saucepan and bring it to a fast simmer, letting it reduce to half its original volume. This should take about 8-10 minutes – be very careful not to let the syrup boil over. When it has reduced, pour it into a glass measuring jug and allow it to cool. Now place the curd cheese, fromage frais and eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together until absolutely smooth, then either grind the toasted walnuts to a coarse texture or chop them very small. Add these, together with the cooled maple syrup, to the curd cheese mixture and whisk everything together. Now, pour it over the base and bake the cheesecake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes. After that, turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside to finish cooking and cooling for several hours or overnight.
To make the sauce, reduce the second bottle of maple syrup as before, then take it off the heat and allow it to cool completely before whisking in the double cream. Finally, roughly chop the remaining nuts and add them to the sauce just before serving.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).