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Maple Cheesecake with Pears

Maple Cheesecake with Pears

If you’ve been hanging around kitchens for any length of time you probably have a particular favorite cheesecake. Strawberry-Topped Cheesecake is popular, or maybe your favorite cheesecake is simply sliced and served as in this lemony version from Mark Bittman. Cheesecake is a staple and most cooks have a fairly certain point of view about which type they prefer. However, I’m not one of those cooks. It would be easy to say that this Maple Cheesecake with its truly spectacular topping of Charred Pear Slices was my favorite cheesecake, because it’s really darn good. It has everything I like in a cheesecake: creamy texture, a slight tang, a bit of fruit and it’s not too sweet. In fact there’s no sugar at all in the filling of this cheesecake. Which is a fact that could make this maple cheesecake a whole lot of people’s favorite cheesecake.

Just not mine. Which isn’t to say I don’t love this Maple Cheesecake. I love this Maple Cheesecake.

The point I’m trying to make is this: I don’t love a particular type of cheesecake (like this Maple Cheesecake, or even this Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake). What I mean is I like a certain style of cheesecake which I find endlessly adaptable to seasonal flavors or culinary whims. Once you’ve mastered the process then, like me, you can say you no longer have a particular favorite type cheesecake. You’ll love them all.

Cheesecake starts with cheese. It can be made with many kinds of cheese including: ricotta cheese, havarti, quark, or even twaróg. However in this country cheesecake is usually made from cream cheese, which was invented in 1872. My favorite types of cheesecake are made with cream cheese.

Apart from the cheese, there are predominantly two styles of cheesecake recipes. One that sets by baking, and one that is chilled in the fridge to set. I far prefer a baked cheesecake for its creamy texture, and more complex flavor. However, just because a cheesecake is baked doesn’t mean it’s good. In my opinion, a good cheesecake is baked at 350 degrees and requires a water bath. Higher temperatures or less consistent temperatures often lead to an ugly crack on top, or worse– a grainy texture. Some people (New Yorkers??) like this about their cheesecake. Just not me.

Now that I’ve cleared that up (or have I?) let me tell you why I love this Maple Cheesecake with its thinly sliced charred pears. Or maybe I shouldn’t even bother. Maybe I should tell you to look at the pictures. If they don’t convince that this Maple Cheesecake is well worth your time and effort, I don’t see how I ever could. GREG

cheesecake crustroasted pear slices

Maple Cheesecake

 

maple cheesecake with thinly sliced charred pears

Maple Cheesecake with Charred Pear Slices

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8–10Source Inspired by Martha Stewart LivingPublished

A digestive biscuit, sometimes described as a sweet-meal biscuit, is a semi-sweet biscuit (usually known in American English as a “cookie” that originated in the United Kingdom. In Latin cultures they are known as Maria cookies. Plain shortbread cookies could be substituted.

Maple Cheesecake with Charred Pear Slices

Ingredients

  • 7 ounce Digestive biscuits (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons real maple syrup (divided)
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • 24 ounce cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 3 eggs (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • hot water (as needed)
  • cooking spray (as needed for baking sheets)
  • 2 Bosc pears (sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions

Prepare the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse digestive biscuits and salt until finely ground (you should have about 1 ½ cups). Add ¼ cup maple syrup and melted butter; pulse until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 8 or 9‑inch springform pan. The crumbs should come about 3 inches up the sides. Bake until crust is dry and set, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.

Prepare the filling: In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat cream cheese on low speed, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, until smooth. Add remaining 3/4‑cup syrup and eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cream and vanilla; beat until just combined. Scrape the filling into the prepared pan.

Set the lined and filled springform pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to heated 350 degree oven. Carefully add hot water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center; about 1 hour.

Transfer cake pan to wire rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, from 3 hours to overnight.

Prepare the pears: Turn the broiler to high. Lightly coat one or two (depending on size) parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Choose 24 of the nicest looking most uniformly sized pear slices. arrange them in a single layer on sheet and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Place under the broiler and broil until slightly charred on the edges and browned in spots, about 4–6 minutes, rotating sheet frequently. Carefully transfer the pears to a new piece of parchment so as to avoid sticking. Let cool. If moisture puddles onto the pears during cooling, blot lightly with a paper towel before proceeding.

To serve, arrange pear slices, overlapping slightly in a couple of layers, on cheesecake. Sprinkle with turbindo sugar (optional) before releasing the cake from the springform pan. Slice and serve immediately.