Summer season baked nectarine cheesecake with a biscuit and pink peppercorn base

image2

This is a rich, baked cheesecake. The bottom crunchy layer has the addition of crushed pink peppercorns and ground almonds, which gives a fabulous texture and a nice zingy tang to each mouthful, complementing the nectarines.

Notes

As a sort of aside, I’ve made this cheesecake while recovering from a (routine) hand operation (no, I’m not fishing for sympathy – that’s not me – and it’s all simple and straightforward so please don’t worry). I would normally make this without the use of a food processor (even though I do own one) except for the biscuit-crushing for which it is oh-so much easier than bashing them with a rolling pin, though that will work admirably. I have fallen heavily on the use of my processor in recent days to help me cook, including using it to chop veg, although I couldn’t cook at all for the first week – and it’s been a godsend. Also, a big thanks to my sons who have done some of the heavy work, like crush peppercorns, lift my processor out of the cupboard for me and move the tins in and out of the oven. It gets them learning about baking and they get a cheesecake that I wouldn’t be able to make on my own with one temporarily rubbish paw.

I have made this cheesecake previously (you know by now I try hard to make recipes a few times to ensure they are accurate) but I did have full use of both hands when it was made in the past!

To make sure the loose-bottom cake tin is fully watertight (so the cheesecake doesn’t leak out nor the waterbath leak in) lay a sheet of greaseproof/baking parchment over the bottom, then a layer of foil on that. Then fold it over slightly and close the ring as you would normally – it’ll be a little tougher to close but will be more watertight.

This takes only around an hour to make, but it does need several hours to cool and set properly – and ideally overnight. So it does require a little planning!

Oh and the last thing is, that pink peppercorns aren’t apparently pepper at all, but another dried berry with peppery overtones. As such, if you can’t get hold of it I would recommend swapping it for a half teaspoon of normal black pepper and the zest of a half an orange.

Equipment
  • 20cm springform cake tin
  • Kitchen foil and baking paper/greaseproof paper
  • Large bowl and a medium (heatproof) bowl
  • Food processor for crushing the biscuits and the nectarines
  • Pestle and mortar or fill a peppermill with only pink peppercorns
  • Large ovenproof tin (large enough to fit your cake tin in)
  • Spatulas
  • Saucepan
  • Kettle
Ingredients – base
  • Digestive or other plain biscuits – 185g
  • Ground almonds – 30g
  • Unsalted butter, softened – 80g
  • Pink peppercorns, crushed – 1 teaspoon
Ingredients – cheesecake
  • Cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) – 250g
  • Double cream – 300ml
  • Eggs, large – three
  • Caster sugar – 125g
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Zest from a whole lemon
  • Two nectarines, stones removed
Additional –
  • Extra nectarines, sliced as a garnish
  • A kettle-full of boiling water for a water bath
Method
  1. Take the base off the springform tin and cut or rip off a piece each of kitchen foil and baking paper, each slightly bigger than the base
  2. Lay these two sheets of foil one on top of the other and cover the base, smoothing it out and over the edges, making it tight. Don’t bunch it up at the edge/rim
  3. This little trick is to make the springform tin a little more water-tight and to replace the need for a baking sheet
  4. Clip the foil-covered base into the tin – it will be a bit harder than normal (you may need to push down any bunched-up areas) but it will ensure it fits more snugly
  5. Crush the peppercorns into fine crumbs in the pestle and mortar (if you’ve not got them in a peppermill)
  6. Warm your butter until it is just starting to melt
  7. Whizz up the digestives, ground almonds and peppercrons in your blender (or put them in a tea towel, making sure it is folded or twisted and bash with a rolling pin)
  8. Tip the warmed butter into the digestive crumbs and whizz mix together again
  9. Tip into the springform tin and press down with a silicon spatula (I found recently that it sticks less often than using the back of a spoon as I was used to) until it is as even as possible
  10. Leave to one side
Method – cheesecake mix
  1. Turn your oven on to 170C fan / 190C conventional
  2. Cut the nectarines into pieces and whizz them up in your food processor
  3. In a large bowl tip in all the ingredients – the cream, the cream cheese, the caster, the eggs, the lemon juice and zest and the nectarine pulp and mix until all the cream cheese lumps are smoothed through
  4. Tip all the cheesecake mix slowly into the tin while trying not to dislodge the biscuit base
  5. Place the cake tin inside the larger oven proof tin and boil your kettle up
  6. Pour the kettle-full of water into the tin to create a water bath and quickly get the whole lot into your hot oven
  7. Bake for 45 minutes – you may want to turn your tins 180 degrees 10 minutes before the end if you have an oven with a pronounced hotspot at the rear
  8. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven
  9. Take the tins out, remove the cake tin from the water bath and put the cake tin back on an over rack on its own (you can now discard the water bath)
  10. Keep the oven door open a little now – if it won’t stay open by itself, jam the handle of a wooden spoon half way down the door to keep it ajar
  11. Leave the cheesecake in for another 10 minutes
  12. Remove the cheesecake – it should have a voluptuous wobble in the middle when you jiggle the tin (this will set further as it cools)
  13. Leave to cool in the tin for a good couple of hours at least
  14. Make sure the tin is cool to the touch before you try to open the spring and remove the tin ring – if in doubt take a very sharp plain bladed knife and run just the very tip of the blade round the edge of the cheesecake (don’t put the whole knife down the side – you only want to break the join between the surface and the tin)
  15. Then, keeping it on the loose tin bottom for now (until it’s fully firmed or you risk breaking it), transfer to the fridge for at least another two hours, preferably overnight (this is better on day two)
  16. Just before serving, de-stone and slice the remaining two nectarines and arrange them on top
Advertisements

4 comments

I'd love you to leave a reply :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s