Spiced Cheddar Cheesecake

A showstopper, make-ahead appetizer, and addictive in the extreme. This would also make a really nice cheese course in lieu of dessert.

To make this, you will require a 5-inch diameter springform tin, easily procured online.

Make sure your cream cheese is very soft before starting, otherwise you won’t get a light, fluffy cheesecake.

This cheesecake has been adapted from a wonderful Canadian Living recipe.

Feeds 4 – 8, depending on appetite

Ingredients

1/2 cup pecans

250g cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), softened

1 egg

1/2 cup grated aged cheddar cheese

1 shallot, finely minced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 cup good quality mango chutney

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300F / 150C / 130C Fan, and boil a kettle for later on.

Line the bottom of the springform tin with a circle of parchment paper, and line the edge of the tin with a tall strip of parchment, coming about 2 inches above the top. Set aside.

Tumble the pecans into a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes, until the nuts are slightly toasted and fragrant. Remove to a board, chop roughly and set aside.

In a stand mixer or a bowl with an electric beater, add the cream cheese and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then give everything a good scrape down with a spatula. Add the cheddar, shallot and spices.

Stir together pecans and chutney. Add half the nuts and chutney to the cream cheese mixture, reserving the other half.

Spoon the cheesecake filling into your prepared tin. Add the remaining mango chutney and pecan mixture on top, smoothing into an even layer.

Set the tin over a large square of tin foil and scrunch the foil up the sides. Place into a deep roasting tin big enough to hold the pan (but not too large) and fill the roasting tin with recently boiled water, to about an inch depth.

Bake for 1hr 15 minutes, or until the top is just set. Turn the oven off, then run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the parchment. Let cool in the oven for an hour, then remove the tin and transfer to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving. Serve with fluffy baguette and fresh fruit, such as raspberries or slices of mango.

Tip: Keep the springform tin on the cheesecake until you’re ready to serve.

Make ahead: Cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in advance, or carefully wrapped and frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before serving.

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