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Hazelnut cheesecake Recipe

ingredients

serves 10 - 12
100 g (4 oz) butter or margarine
100 g (4 oz) soft brown sugar
175 g (6 oz) digestive biscuits, finely crushed
50 g (2 oz) ground hazelnuts

filling:

100 g (4 oz) nut brittle
450 g (1 lb) full fat soft cheese
225 g 8 oz) caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
few drops of vanilla essence
300 ml (1/2 pint) double or whipping cream
30 g (1 oz) powdered gelatine
8 x 15 ml (8 tablespoons) spoons water
75 g (3 oz) shelled hazelnuts, flaked

topping:

75 g (3 oz) shelled hazelnuts
100 g (4 oz) plain chocolate, broken into small pieces

method

1. Melt the butter or margarine and brown sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir in the biscuit crumbs with the ground hazelnuts. Press evenly over the bottom of a greased loose-bottomed 25-30 cm/10-12 inch round cake tin. Chill.

2. Crush the nut brittle into tiny pieces with a rolling pin. Soften the cheese in a large mixing bowl. Beat in 100 g/ 4 oz of the caster sugar, the egg yolks, vanilla essence and cream. Put the gelatine and water into a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

3. Beat the gelatine into the cheese mixture. Leave on one side until the mixture is on the point of setting. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then whisk in the remaining caster sugar. Fold lightly but thoroughly into the cheese mixture, together with the crushed nut brittle and the flaked hazelnuts.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and shake the tin gently to level the surface. Chill for 3-4 hours or until set. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Spread out the whole hazelnuts on a freezerproof plate and freeze for 20 minutes.

5. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Stir the chilled hazelnuts into the melted chocolate so that they are evenly coated. Lift the hazelnuts out and place in small clusters on a sheet of greased greaseproof paper.

6. Ease the sides of the tin carefully away from the cheesecake and lift the set cheesecake out on the tin base. Decorate with clusters of chocolate-coated hazel-nuts and if you like, pipe whipped cream around the edge and sprinkle with flaked hazelnuts.

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