Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    12

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C for the walnuts; 225°F/107°C for the cheesecakes
Baking Time 7 to 9 minutes for the walnuts; 30 to 35 minutes for the cheesecakes

I first met and greatly admired chef Thomas Haas when he was pastry chef at Daniel restaurant in New York City. He is now owner of Thomas Haas Chocolates and Patisserie in Vancouver, British Columbia. Chef Haas generously shared one of his most popular recipes from the bakery. These fabulously delicious, creamy cheesecakes double as either an appetizer accompanied by a salad, or a dessert accompanied by fresh ripe pear slices and a glass of Sauternes.

Plan Ahead Make the cheesecakes at least 4 hours ahead.

Ingredients

Walnut Base and Batter

VOLUME WEIGHT
walnut halves ¾ cup plus tablespoons 3 ounces 84 grams
sugar ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons 2.6 ounces 75 grams
cornstarch 1 tablespoon . 9 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
cream cheese (65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C), cut into pieces 1⅓ cups 12 ounces 340 grams
sour cream ¼ cup 2.1 ounces 60 grams
Stilton or other strong flavored blue cheese 2 tablespoons 1.2 ounces 35 grams
2 large eggs, lightly beaten cup plus 1 tablespoon (94 ml) 3.5 ounces 100 grams

Special Equipment

Two 6 cup silicone muffin pans, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, set on a wire rack and then on a baking sheet, or one 12 cup muffin pan, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | Optional: a disposable pastry bag

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Toast the Walnuts

Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Turn the walnuts onto a clean dish towel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins. Discard the skins and cool completely.

Lower the oven temperature to 225°F/107°C.

Make the Walnut Base

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they are finely chopped but not powder fine. Spoon 1 tablespoon/0.2 ounce/7 grams into each cup and press the nuts evenly onto the bottom.

Make the Filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the cream cheese and beat on low speed until the mixture begins to come together. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute, or until very smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a small bowl, using a fork, mash together the sour cream and Stilton cheese until well combined. Scrape this mixture into the mixer bowl and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or just until incorporated.

Add the eggs and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or just until incorporated. The batter should be thick like sour cream.

Fill the Cups

The easiest way to fill the cups is to scrape the batter into a disposable pastry bag, or quart-size reclosable freezer bag with a ½ inch semicircle cut from one corner, and pipe the batter into the cups, filling them almost to the top (1.8 ounces/50 grams each). Alternatively, scrape the batter into a large measuring cup or pitcher with a spout and pour it in. Smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula.

Bake the Cheesecakes

Bake for 15 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pans halfway around. Continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160°F/71°C. When the pans are moved, the batter will jiggle like jelly, and the tops will be set and will bounce back when pressed lightly.

Cool the Cheesecakes

Set the baking sheet on a wire rack. Lift the hot rack with the muffin pans onto another wire rack or heatproof surface to cool for 30 minutes, or just until warm. Cover the surface of the cheesecakes with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before unmolding.

Unmold the Cheesecakes

If using metal muffin pans, run a small spatula that has been heated under hot water and wiped off between the sides of the muffin cups and the cakes. (This is not necessary if using silicone pans.)

Place a baking sheet on top of the plastic wrap–covered muffin pan and invert it. Wet a dish towel with very hot water. Wring out the excess and set it over the muffin pan, draping it into the depressions. Let it to sit for about 2 minutes. Remove the towel and lift off the muffin pan. If the cheesecakes do not release readily, reapply the hot towel and let it sit for another minute. Place a second sheet pan on top of the cheesecakes and reinvert them.

If the cakes were baked in the metal muffin pan, use a small spatula that has been heated in boiling water and wiped off to smooth the sides of the cakes.

Use a pancake turner to lift each cheesecake onto a serving plate.

Store

Refrigerated, 5 days.

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