As well as Autumn’s abundant fruits, the humble hazelnut takes centre stage at this time of year. I almost squealed with delight when we found wild hazelnuts when walking in Highland Perthshire recently, and although we couldn’t gather enough to bake with it certainly inspired later kitchen experiments. Enter this hazelnut and cinnamon caramel cheesecake: Autumn in every mouthful. An easy hazelnut pastry base topped with creamy vanilla cheesecake and swirled generously with cinnamon caramel. To make the cheesecake, you will need:
For the base:
50g blanched hazelnuts
60g caster sugar
125g plain flour
110g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
For the cinnamon caramel:
65g granulated sugar
25g unsalted butter
60ml double cream
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the filling:
300ml double cream
100g golden icing sugar
280g full-fat cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 2 tbsp Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur.
First, make the base: preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden. Cool, then transfer to a food processor with the sugar and whizz to fine crumbs. Add the flour and butter to the processor and pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough. Tip out and lightly knead to make a dough.
Press the dough into the base of the prepared tin and smooth to an even layer. Chill for 20 minutes until firm, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and sandy to the touch. Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the caramel. Set a frying pan over a medium-high heat. When it’s hot, sprinkle in the granulated sugar, a spoonful at a time, shaking the pan as you go. Once all the sugar has dissolved, heat until it turns an amber colour, then stir in the butter.
Remove from the heat and pour in the cream, stirring constantly and carefully – the hot mixture may spit. Set back over the heat if needed to turn the mixture into a smooth caramel, then set aside to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and cool to room temperature.
For the filling, whip the cream until firm then mix in the icing sugar, cream cheese, Frangelico or hazelnut liqueur, if using, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Stir 1 tbsp of the caramel into the bowl of cream cheese mixture to add some caramel flavour. For the caramel topping, take 4-5 tbsp of this cream cheese filling and add it to the remaining cooled caramel in the pan.
Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled biscuit base and level the surface. Swirl the remaining caramel over the top and put the cheesecake in the fridge for a few hours to set completely. Bring to room temperature to serve.
What are you baking this weekend?
Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine.