Peanut Honeycomb Baked Mascarpone Cheesecake
Baked cheesecake is one on my weaknesses in life. When I was a catering college student, I learned ‘the magic’ of producing baked cheesecakes. I even told my mother, a cheesecake lover herself, that if it’s not a baked cheesecake it’s not worth eating. We became cheesecake snobs and rejected out of hand cold cheesecakes made with gelatine.
This cheesecake is not a traditional recipe using cream cheese but is a mixture of mascarpone cheese and crème fraîche. I had some ingredients in the fridge and did not want them go to waste so I made a cheesecake. I made the base by mixing hobnob biscuits with a good helping of my home made Seville orange marmalade and melted butter. You might think I’m a cheat for using hobnob biscuits, perhaps I am but time was not quite on my side. I had to get it baked and cooled in daylight so I had the right conditions to take a photograph.The reason being is that this cheesecake would not have seen dusk as Mr.P would never be able to keep his hands off and it would have been a divorce situation.
I was right, there was only an hour between baking the cheesecake, completing the decoration, allowing it to cool and taking the photographs and eating our first slice. It was still slightly warm…… mmmmm, delicious! Tummy ache heaven! It was interesting how different yet delicious it was both warm or cold.
Mr.P has a very sweet tooth and has a special affinity for crunchy chocolate bars so when the opportunity arose to play and recreate one of his favourites he was ready and rearing to go.
This method of making honeycomb was a trick they taught us at catering college. When the teachers demonstrated this, we all went ooh, wow and aah as it’s almost like magic. I remember the vigorous bubbling hot caramel reacting with the bicarbonate of soda, it expands and froths like a caramel monster, almost like a scene out of Harry Potter. It is very dangerous though and it’s incredibly important to have all the items you need ready to hand. The most important are a heat resistant pot rest, a wooden or heat resistant plastic spoon and a lined baking tray in which to decant the hot honeycomb. All of this must be done in close proximity to the cooker as you should not move about too much with hot caramel as it can cause serious and very painful burns. Now you are aware of all the precautions it’s time have fun and make honeycomb.
The honeycomb makes a great garnish for this baked cheesecake, the textures works well together and with the final touch of the melted chocolate it’s a dream for all any cheesecake connoisseurs.
Ingredients & Method
Cheesecake Biscuit Base
- 150g hobnob biscuits
- 45g unsalted butter, melted
- 30g marmalade
Mascarpone and Crème Fraîche Cheesecake
- 4 whole medium eggs
- 120g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
- 600g mascarpone cheese
- 60ml crème fraîche
- Juice of one lemon
- 80ml dark chocolate, melted
- 200g caster sugar
- 75g golden syrup
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g lightly salted peanuts
Prepare the biscuit base. Place the biscuits in a clean polythene bag, use a rolling pin to crush them into even size pieces, but avoid making fine crumbs. Transfer the crushed biscuits to a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and marmalade, mix well. Line a 22cm spring form cake tin with four layers of cling film or parchment paper. (The cling film works well as it does not melt if you use this number of layers). Press the biscuit base into the tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 140°C.
Make the cheesecake. Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes creamy and slightly aerated.
In a separate bowl cream the mascarpone, crème fraîche and lemon juice until smooth and fold into the egg mixture.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 1hour 20 minutes, give the tin a tap and if the mix wobbles more than once it requires further cooking.
TOP TIP: Once the mixture passes the ‘wobble’ test, then turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool down. This is a very important tip as it will prevent the cheesecake from cracking.
While the cheesecake is baking make the peanut honeycomb. Scatter the salted peanuts over a parchment lined baking tray and set aside. Weigh the sugar and golden syrup into a medium size saucepan, over low heat melt the sugar, do not stir, just jiggle the pan, once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and let the caramel boil until a deep caramel colour, not too dark as it will taste burned. Remove the pan from the heat, add the bicarbonate of soda, stir quickly as the caramel will bubble vigorously and expand, quickly pour the frothing mass over the salted peanuts and leave to cool completely.
Very Important Safety Tips
It’s very important to remember that caramel can cause serious and very painful burns please take extra care when making this recipe. Make sure you have a pot stand ready to rest the hot pan on, use a wooden or heat resistant plastic spoon as metal conducts heat and can cause injury.
Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, remove the spring form and transfer the cake to a serving plate. Melt the chocolate over a Bain-Marie. Break the honeycomb into small pieces and scatter over the cheesecake. Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the cheesecake and dust with icing sugar for added deliciousness.