I sincerely apologise for being absent from the blog for such a long time. It was all because I was concentrating on becoming a better baker and a better photographer – which will enable me to bring better recipes to this blog. Firstly, I am continuing my online pastry qualifications. Secondly, I have taken a 10-week course specialising solely on chocolate. I have to say that chocolate work is quickly becoming my passion due to the fact that you can do so much with it.
I want to come back to the blog with this fantastic cheesecake recipe by the maitre Pierre Herme. Yes, it may be a bit more cumbersome to make than other cheesecakes, but the results are so worth it. I have received so many compliments on it and people are still talking about it a couple of days later.
Below I am setting out the ingredients only for the filling. For the base you can use one of the recipes for tart bases which I have on my blog.
For the cheesecake layer:
- 450g of cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 75g of shelled and chopped raw pistachios (not salted)
- 125g sugar
- 20g flour
- 20g egg yolks
- 100g eggs
- 30g double cream
- 40g pistachio paste (I buy mine from Amazon)
- 250g of cherry (I used already pre-soaked cherry in kirsch)
For the pistachio mousse layer:
- 6g gelatine
- 160g cream cheese
- 10g sugar
- 200g double cream
- 15ml water (for pate a bomb)
- 50g sugar (for pate a bomb)
- 30g egg yolks
You will also need to decorate the cheesecake once it is done, I used ground pistachios and chocolate decoration which I painted green to go with the pistachio theme.
- First, we will start with preparing the base for the tart. Like I said above, please select a tart base from one of the tart recipes that I have on this site and prepare until the point where you place the dough in the fridge. Please do place it in the fridge and let rest.
- While the dough is resting pre-heat the oven to 180c. Then roll out thinly – to about 2-3mm, roll out already on the parchment paper, so that it is then easy to move to the oven. Once you have rolled out the dough move it to the oven and let bake for about 15 minutes (the baking time you will have to judge by your oven) or until the dough is golden-brown in color.
- Remove the baked dough from the oven and let cool down completely. Once it has, in the food processor break up the dough until it is a fine crumb (I guess you can call it the consistency of sand). Then combine the crumb with about 75-80g of butter at room temperature until it comes together. Pierre Herme actually gives 100g of butter, but I think we can do just fine with about 75g.
- Press the mixture into the bottom only of a 24inch spring- form pan. Do not press any mixture on the side. Now return the base to the oven, at 150c for about 12-15 minutes. Take out and let cool down completely. You can do this step on day 1 and then the rest on the next or subsequent day to make the preparation as bit more manageable.
Baked cheesecake layer:
- Now we can move on to preparing the baked cheesecake layer. Once again we will need: 450g of cream cheese, 75g – chopped unsalted shelled pistachios, 125g – sugar, 20g – flour, 20g – egg yolk, 100g – eggs, 30g – double cream, 40g – pistachio paste. I do not have too many step-by-step pictures for the this cake unfortunately, as it was very difficult for me – especially in the mousse preparation stage – to try to juggle preparing pate a bomb and taking pictures, but I will try to be as specific as I can in my descriptions.
- Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 90c. Beat together cream cheese with sugar until all sugar has dissolved (approximately 2-3 minutes). I would highly recommend that all ingredients be the same – room – temperature when you are working with them. I would also caution about over-beating the cream cheese, it is better to work with it on low speed.
- To the cream cheese mixture add the egg yolk, eggs, double cream and pistachio paste. Mix to combine.
- Add sieved flour and chopped pistachio and mix to combine again. As you can see below at this point I was mixing with a spatula, since it is very important not to over-mix the cream cheese or the cheesecake with crap when baked.
- Then pick up the pan with the base which you baked and pour the mixture over it. As you will see below I have covered the base of the pan with some foil, just to make sure to try and keep my oven clean (ahem, to prevent the cheesecake mixture from leaking out). Bake the cheesecake for approximately 1 hour, what you are trying to achieve is that on the outside the cheesecake is fully baked and the center is still jiggling when touched.
6. Let the baked cheesecake cool down completely. Now take the cherries and dry them out on a piece of paper. Arrange over the baked and cooled cheesecake.
Pistachio mousse layer
- Mousse cakes are so trendy right now and the techniques we are using here can be applied to make a variety of cakes with various flavor combinations. For the pistachio mousse we would need the following ingredients: 6g of gelatine, 160g – cream cheese, 20g – pistachio paste, 10g – sugar, 30g – egg yolk, 15ml of water, 50g – sugar, 200g – double cream. Firstly, take the gelatine and place in very cold water (make sure that the water is very cold and not just room temperature). I use leaf gelatine, so the amount of water does not matter, but if you are using powder gelatine then you need 6 parts of water to 1 part of gelatine.
- The mousse for this cheesecake is based on pate a bomb. This is a very highly used base in patisserie, therefore, it is important to learn it correctly. Pate a bomb is essentially beaten egg yolks which have been “cooked” by pouring very hot water and sugar syrup over them.
- I have to admit I do not use a thermometer, when preparing it. This is because the temperature for the syrup has to be adjusted based on where you located geographically, how humid it is on a particular day and also quite frankly the thermometers are quite often wrong – say, if you are touching it to the bottom of the pan you will get a completely different reading. Below I will explain exactly how to do it (and you will understand why I could not cook and take pictures at the same time). Usually pate a bomb is not very difficult to make (once you get the hang of it), but in this recipe there is a very small amount of water and sugar and therefore, you have to watch the syrup like a hawk, otherwise you will get a caramel rather than syrup.
- In a pan place water (15ml) and sugar (50g) (in that order to prevent sugar crystalizing on the sides of the pan). Boil the syrup until it reaches 121c (this is what the recipe states). But what I do is I take a fork and stir the syrup while it is boiling, once the syrup comes to a boil (in this case due to quantities this will happen very fast), let it boil for a minute or so and then dipping the fork try to blow a bubble (just like you a boiling regular soap bubbles) – once you can blow a syrup bubble with the fork your syrup is ready to be used.
- Now this syrup – once ready – has to be poured immediately over whipped egg yolks. Ideally, I put the yolks in standup mixer as soon as I start boiling the syrup. However, the amount of egg yolks in this recipe is so small my mixer would not whip them, therefore, I used a hand mixer, whipped the egg yolks and then started working on the syrup. As soon as the syrup was ready I turned on the hand mixer again and started whipping the egg yolks while carefully and slowly pouring the syrup over the yolks. Continue beating the egg yolks until the mass has become white, doubled in size and cooled down.
6. In a separate bowl combine the pistachio paste and cream cheese. On a bain marie (I hope you remember what that is from my previous posts) or very carefully in a microwave bring the mixture to the temperature of 60c. Please do not make it hotter than this (and certainly not hotter than 80c since the gelatine, which we will add next will simply not work). Add the sugar and the gelatine (if you are using leaf gelatine take it out of the water and dry off on a piece of paper) and mix until combined and gelatine has dissolved.
7. Add the egg yolk mixture and mix to combine. Now you have to let this mixture cool down until it is cool to the touch (30c).
8. Next, in a separate bowl you have to whip the double cream to “soft peaks” stage. I always find this term very confusing, since there will be no actual visible peak in the soft peaks stage. Essentially you are looking to whip the double cream until the whisk just begins to leave marks on the surface of the double cream. Essentially you are looking to put as much air into the double cream without making it stiff. Once you have reached this stage place the bowl in the fridge for the cream to cool down.
9. Once your pistachio/cream cheese mixture has cooled down, take out your whipped double cream, give it 2-3 more whisks with a hand whisk (do not use an electric one as it is very easy to overmix) and add the double cream to the pistachio/cream cheese mixture, mix carefully and rather fast, since you do you want the double cream to loose the air.
10. And your mousse is ready. Pour it over the cooked and cooked cheesecake and place into the fridge to set (ideally overnight).
11. Once the mousse has set, remove the cheesecake from the pan, cover the top with chopped pistachios and cover the sides with chocolate decorations.
Enjoy! Please do not forget to follow me on Instagram @thelondongal so you can see many more pictures of my bakes and see what I am working on.