Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pear, chocolate and amaretto cheesecake.

 For the sake of variety, I am taking a break from the (still pending) Istanbul posts to bring you a recipe. Remember I told you about Fiona's recipe swap? Well, a few days ago I got my precious little envelope (which came all the way from the UK) and this last weekend I finally set myself to work.
I had to make a few changes, since the recipe called for "double cream" and I was not able to find it in the supermarkets here. As I learnt, double-cream should have minimum 48% milk fat. In The Netherlands, the "fattest" cream we have is whipping cream (slagroom), with 35 % fat. After a little bit of research I found out some people substitute double-cream with mascarpone cheese (80 % fat). So I used a mix of mascarpone + whipping cream to achieve a total similar percentage of fat. (250 gr mascarpone + 250 gr whipping cream, with a total 57.5 % fat, slightly higher than the 48% in double cream, but good enough I guess). As you can see, this is not exactly the lightest recipe, but I can tell you right now it was delicious.

You will need:
2 or 3 pears.
50 gr sugar. (I used brown)
100 ml. water
1 vanilla pod (mine came directly from the Grand Bazaar, in a little essay tube that made me think of my chemistry classes).
150 gr. digestive biscuits, crumbled
50 gr. butter.
2 tbsp. nutella. 
300 gr. cream-cheese
125 gr. sugar
500 ml. double cream (or 250 gr. mascarpone + 250 gr. whipping cream).
3 tbsp. amaretto liqueur.
100 gr. almond biscuits (amaretti), crushed.
75 gr. dark chocolate, to decorate.

What to do:
Peel, core and cut the pears in little cubes. On a low fire, in a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water. Rip open the vanilla pod, take the seeds and put them in a large mixing bowl. Then, add the rest of the vanilla pod to the syrup. Add the fruit to the syrup and let them cook until soft but not mushy. The recipe said 3 minutes, but I let it cook more like 10 or 15 min, since my pears were quite hard. Drain, and let cool.

Next, for the pie base, powder the digestive biscuits. Melt the butter, and add the nutella. Pour the butter-nutella mix over the crumbled cookies and press this mixture on the bottom of a springform tin. Put in the fridge or freezer to set.


Now, on to the filling. In the mixing bowl with the vanilla seeds, mix the cream-cheese and the sugar until soft and creamy. Add the mascarpone and whipping cream and contine mixing to soft-peaks. Add the amaretto and mix well. Then, fold in the crushed almond biscuits and pear cubes.

Pour the filling on the springform and sprinkle the top with grated dark chocolate.Put in the fridge to chill, until firm. I actually put it in the freezer for 3 or 4 hours, unmoulded it (by sliding a knife carefully around the edges) and released the springform, and only then I transferred it to the fridge. I prefer it quite firm, but not hard-rock, so I kept moving it from the freezer to the fridge if it became to soft. I have to say that it always kept its form, it is just a matter of your personal taste.

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