A couple of Christmases ago, we decided to stick around England for the holidays, which meant I would be responsible for planning and preparing Christmas dinner. My mind immediately went to ‘What will we have for dessert?’ since I knew my Mother wouldn’t be here to make any of my favorites (funny how my mind went directly to dessert, and not to roasting a turkey, or making stuffing, which I’d never done before).
I began my quest for the perfect dessert and found this:
Behold: Pear and Amaretto Cheesecake.
This is undoubtedly the most decadent cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. Pure bliss.
I’ve posted the recipe below, and wouldn’t change a thing. It’s now become a holiday staple in our house. :) You can find the full recipe here compliments of the fabulous Gordon Ramsay.
For the poached pears
- 2 large pears
- 50g caster sugar
- 100ml water
- 1 vanilla pod
For the base
- 150g digestive biscuits
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp chocolate spread, such as Nutella
For the filling
- 300g full-fat cream cheese (i.e. Philadelphia-type)
- 125g caster sugar
- 550ml double cream
- 3 tbsp amaretto liqueur
- 100g amaretti biscuits, lightly crushed
- 120g good-quality dark chocolate
- Icing sugar, to dust
- First, poach the pears for the filling. Peel, quarter and core the pears, then cut into 1cm dice. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into a large bowl; set aside for later. Add the pod to the sugar syrup and simmer for a few minutes to infuse. Add the diced pears and poach gently for about 3 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
- For the cheesecake base, blitz the digestives in a food processor to fine crumbs, then tip into a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the chocolate spread. Add to the biscuit crumbs and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of a 23–24cm springform cake tin, pressing down lightly. Chill for at least 20 minutes until set.
- For the filling, add the cream cheese and sugar to the vanilla seeds. Using a hand whisk, beat the mixture until well blended. Add 450ml of the cream and the liquer and whisk to soft peaks. Fold in the crushed amaretti and poached pears.
- Spoon the filling on top of the biscuit base and level the surface. Chill for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Spread over the remaining cream to form a thin layer and then chill again.
- For the decoration, melt the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water, then spread in an even layer on a marble slab or the underside of a clean baking sheet. Leave until just set, then draw a sharp knife across the surface at an angle of about 25 to shave off large curls
- To unmould the cheesecake, run a hot thin-bladed knife around the edge and remove the side of the tin. Slide a palette knife under the cheesecake and transfer to a flat plate. Arrange the chocolate curls decoratively on top, then dust with icing sugar. Cut into slices to serve. This dessert will keep in the fridge for a day or two.