Chestnut Coffee Cheesecake
Jan 31, 2011
The best thing I love about cooking is the experimenting and improvising it takes to fabricate something I taste and love somewhere out there. I don't usually bother to ask the recipe nor the ingredients because I rather avoid the uncomfortable conversation when they tell me they can't reveal their house secret recipes or even if they do, I know for a fact that the very ingredient or technique that makes the food stand out, will not be disclosed. But to tell the truth I enjoy quiet a lot, all the brainstorming I have to do, the research I have to make through my precious cookbooks and the tests I hassle with in order to reach some kind of perfection. When and if my attempts are crowned with success I become the happiest little blogger on the face of the earth. When it comes to deducting recipes, I am quiet resilient too; when success seems out of reach for a particular recipe for the moment, I just move it to my crowded "recipes to be improved" list.
And I hereby present you another one of my humble achievements, the Chestnut Coffee Cheesecake. Although I am not a big cheesecake fan, this one here blew me away when I tasted it in a coffee house in Istanbul. Not having baked one before, I decided to get one my recently bought cookbooks involved, "Ramsay's Best Menus" and baked his Ginger Chocolate Cheesecake by replacing chocolate and ginger with chestnuts and coffee. As Gordon Ramsay's measures were meant for chocolate and ginger, it was not surprising to see that the cheesecake I obtained was far too mild with no apparent flavor to it. The crust was way too thin, barely noticeable. What I did was to double the crust, triple sugar and chestnuts, quadruple the coffee I used initially and add vanilla extract. I ended up with a fantastic recipe I can safely call my own, save for the idea of using half and half mascarpone and fromage frais. That belongs to Ramsay.
Chestnut Coffee Cheesecake<
- a 23 cm. 9 inch cake tin with a removable base
- 60 g butter, melted
- 200 g digestive biscuits
- 300 g mascarpone, at room temperature
- 200 g fromage frais or full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 115 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 500 g chestnuts
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee
for the base:
for the filling:
- Scratch the shell of each chestnut with a knife. Wash and cook the shelled chestnuts in boiling water for about 30-40 minutes until they are tender and easily squeezable. Fish chestnuts one by one with a slotted spoon from the pot and peel the shells and the inner skins with the help of knife, under running tap water.
- Put chestnuts in a bowl with instant coffee and milk. Purée them with a potato masher or better with a hand blender. If too thick for the blender, you can add 1/4 cup more milk.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Lightly grease the bottom and the sides of the cake tin.
- Whiz the biscuits into crumbs in a food processor. Add melted butter and stir until evenly blended. Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and press onto the base with bottom of a mug. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 170C/325F.
- Whisk the mascarpone and fromage frais in a bowl until smooth. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until all blended well.
- Fold in the chestnut-coffee purée. Give it a quick whisk for 2-3 seconds to incorporate the purée well into the cheese mixture.
- Scrape the filling on to the biscuit base. Place it in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. The cheesecake should be ready when the sides are set but the center is slightly wobbly.
- Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges. Leave it to cool in the cake tin. When cooled put in the fridge for 3-4 hours until firm. Serve with sprinkled cacao powder if you wish.
Preparing the base:
Preparing the filling: