White Chocolate and Pistachio Baked Cheesecake

14 Aug

This recipe started off as an experiment. I have two  favourite cheesecake recipes – and only needed to make one cheesecake.

What to do!?

  1. Donna Hay’s classic baked cheesecake recipe as seen on Masterchef
  2. The Taste websites White Chocolate and Pistachio Cheesecake recipe

To be fair to both recipes there was only ever one option – combining the two and making the best cheesecake ever! Oh yeah.

Shopping List –

1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios finely chopped

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1/3 cup ground almonds (almond meal)

¾ cup plain flour

1½ tablespoons cornflour

Approximately 1 1/2 cups caster sugar

100g chilled butter, chopped

½ cup thickened cream

330g cream cheese, softened

500g fresh ricotta

400g white chocolate

4 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ tablespoons water

Tip – To get 400g of white chocolate means you’ll need to buy two 220g blocks – giving you 40 grams extra. This leaves 8 squares for you to enjoy. Go on, you know you want to.

Here’s how I went about it…

I made the base from scratch. It’s easy to make and tastes divine. Seems a bit nicer than just crushing up shop bought biscuits too.

Ingredients for the base

1/3 cup shelled salted pistachios
very finely chopped

1/3 cup ground almonds (almond
meal)

¾ cup plain flour

¼ cup caster sugar

100g chilled butter, chopped

Tip – you can use pre-shelled unsalted pistachios if you’re hurried for time but I find that using salted pistachios you shell yourself adds something nice to the overall flavour. Salted Pistachios in their shells are cheaper too and if you have any leftovers they make a great beer snack.

  • Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius
  •  Place the ingredients for the base in a chilled bowl and rub the mixture between your fingertips – until you have a coarse crumb.

Tip – chilling the bowl helps with keeping the ingredients cool. Especially for those of you like me with warm hands that melt the butter.

  • Line the base of a 20cm spring form tin with non-stick baking paper.

Tip – Donna Hay has a brilliant idea here – flip the base of the spring form tin over so it’s upside down. Place a piece of baking paper over it before snapping the outer rim in place. Makes a great flat non-stick surface.

  • Place the base mixture in the tin and press into place until you have a reasonably even finish. Use the back of a spoon to
    make the base extra smooth.

Tip – If the mixture seems a bit warm from pfaffing about to get it smooth – pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.

  • Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden, set aside.

Tip – I found 15 minutes wasn’t enough but that could be my dodgy oven. (Hence the finger prints you can see in the shot below – made by me at the 15 minute mark). Take the base out of the oven once you can see the edges are a decent brown. The base hardens up as it cools.

Ingredients for the Cheesecake filling

330g cream cheese, softened

500g fresh ricotta

4 eggs

1 1/3 cups caster sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

¼ cup lemon juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ tablespoons cornflour

1½ tablespoons water

200g white chocolate

Making the filling –

  •  Melt the white chocolate

Tip – Melting chocolate can be tricky. The most reliable method I’ve found is to

–         Put the chocolate in a saucepan

–         Put that saucepan inside a bigger saucepan 1/3 full of water

–         Place the lot over a gentle heat, stirring regularly.

The Taste recipe recommends microwaving the chocolate but I feel the totally heavenly taste of white chocolate deserves taking the time to melt it properly on the stove.

Really, it’s is the least I can do.

  • Place the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon rind, lemon juice, vanilla and melted white chocolate in a food
    processor.
  •  Combine the cornflour and water until smooth and add to the cheese mixture. Process the mixture until smooth

  • Grease the sides of the cake tin with butter or margarine and pour the filling over the base.

Tip – Gently jiggle the tin to make any air bubbles rise to the surface. Wait a few minutes then pop the bubbles with a skewer. This little step goes a long way to achieving that beautiful smooth look a good baked cheesecake has.

  • Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and stand the cake in the oven for 1 hour, leaving the door closed.
  • Leave the cheesecake in the tin. Cover with cling wrap and pop into the fridge until cold. Overnight is best.

Ok, so there’s a dirty big crack in it but the top is still oh so smooth. Lucky this recipe has topping!

Ingredients for the White Chocolate Ganache Topping

200g white chocolate

½ cup thickened cream

2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

  • Combine the white chocolate and cream in a saucepan inside a saucepan of water again
  • Place over a gentle heat – stirring until combined, melted and smooth.
  • Refrigerate for 4 hours or until thick enough to spread.

Tip – Use electric beaters to beat the topping for a minute or two before putting it on the cake. It gives it a nice texture and makes it much easier to spread.

  • Spread topping over chilled cheesecake.
  •  Chop up some pistachios

  • Sprinkle the pistachios over the white chocolate ganache.

And voila!

Sorry Pearl – Cheesecake isn’t good for dogs!

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