chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons

chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons
chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons
chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons

The title summarizes it quite succinctly: this is a chestnut cheesecake crowned with a pile of caramelized fuyu persimmons. I loved this quite a bit – it has two of my favourite things and they do go together well!

chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons

I meant to post this cheesecake last year actually – I had posted a picture on instagram – but I then never quite got around to it. Since then I’ve been a bit preoccupied with basque cheesecake but I didn’t forget this one either.

While this cheesecake does not quite reach the heights of convenience that basque cheesecake does, there is still one rather convenient similarity: no water bath! This cheesecake is made in accordance with Stella Park’s cheesecake recipe – it’s a classic cheesecake which is baked (I have to repeat this again) without a waterbath and yet it’s still so smooth, soft, and perfection!?, each time I’ve tried it (you can also find it used here in the base of this houjicha peach mousse cake). The low oven temperature obviates the need for a temperature-tempering water bath, hence avoiding the spills, scalds and inevitable leak in springform… anyways, no water bath.

This time around I’ve made an autumnal wintery version using chestnut puree in the cheesecake (importantly, this is not the same as creme de marron which is sweetened and thinner) and served with caramelized persimmons. Chestnuts can taste mild, but substituting a sizeable portion of cream cheese for chestnut puree ensures that the chestnut flavour is front and centre. That and the caramel-drenched persimmons makes for a !warm and cozy-vibes! dessert. (Two exclamation marks!! because you are worth it cheesecake!)

chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons

chestnut cheesecake with caramelized persimmons

  • Servings: 6 inch diametre cheesecake
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Makes one 6″ diametre cheesecake; I used a ring 3″ high, though did not go all the way to the top – you may have some extra batter if you use a 2″ tall ring. Cheesecake a hybrid of sorts of these recipes by Nigella Lawson and Stella Parks. 

special equipment

  • 6″ diametre and 3″ high cake ring (alternatively, use a 7″ springform pan though the cheesecake will be shorter and baking time will vary)

crust

  • 100g speculoos biscuit (to make your own, try this recipe) or graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs
  • 20g melted butter

cheesecake

  • 180g chestnut puree (not creme de marron)
  • 270g block cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • pinch salt
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 120g egg
  • 68g heavy cream

caramel syrup

  • 50g sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

caramelized persimmons

  • butter
  • caramel – recipe here
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 250F. Lightly grease a 6″ diametre cake ring. Place on a parchment lined tray.

For the crust, mix together the biscuits and melted butter and press into the bottom of the cake ring.

Then prepare the cheesecake. Separately, cream both the chestnut (if you want the cake to be very smooth, you could press it through a sieve to get rid of the small lumps) and the cream cheese using a wooden spoon, then add them to each other and cream until very smooth. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, dark rum and salt, mixing until combined. Add the sugar, mix until just combined.

In a bowl, beat the 120g eggs together. Add in four additions or so to the cream cheese mixture, fully incorporating each time. Once the batter was more liquidy, I switched to a rubber spatula.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave until boiling, then slowly pour into the batter while constantly mixing.

Scrape the batter into the prepared ring. If you see small bubbles rising to the surface of the cheesecake, bounce a spoon across the surface until the bubbles disappear.

Place in the oven and bake for around 45 minutes to 1 hour or until only the centre few inches of the cake is wobbly and the internal temperature taken in the middle is 145F. Remove from the oven, let cool around 15 minutes before going around the side to gently loosen it with a knife or offset spatula. Let cool another hour on the countertop before chilling the cheesecake in the fridge overnight. To unmold, lift up the ring – you may need to clean up the edge a bit.

For the caramel syrup, put the sugar in a small saucepan and add enough water to dissolve the sugar. Bring the water to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. If you stir, make sure you swirl the pan to pick up and dissolve any granules of sugar along the sides! Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to boil the syrup, swirling occasionally. Lower the temperature once the colour begins to change and watch carefully, cooking to a deep amber or as desired. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in 2 tbsp of water. If the caramel clumps, return to the heat and whisk until dissolved. Transfer the caramel syrup to a bowl and set aside to cool until needed.

When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, make the caramelized persimmons. Heat a frypan over medium high. Add a couple tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook the persimmons until softened. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of the caramel syrup (or however much you like!) and a small pinch of salt to form a caramel sauce. Pour over the unmolded cheesecake.

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