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RECIPE: Maple Cheesecake

While maple is a year-round flavor, we always enjoy it in the fall, as the leaves turn. We use it in a cup of coffee or tea instead of table sugar, we add a bit to mashed sweet potatoes, we drizzle it over baked squash and vanilla ice cream.

And then, there’s cheesecake. This recipe, courtesy of Cabot Creamery, comes from Jacques and Pauline Couture of Missisquoi Valley Farm in Westfield, Vermont. The farm is a winner of Vermont’s Outstanding Farm of the Year.

While Jacques runs the dairy farm, Pauline is busy managing their maple syrup business and bed and breakfast. This Maple Cheesecake is one of the many delightful treats prepared for their overnight guests.

The Coutures make this recipe with Cabot Creamery’s salted butter and cream cheese.

Make the effort to use maple sugar instead of table sugar: You’ll be pleased with the difference. (Check out the different types of sugar.)

We also like to garnish the top of the cake with maple candies, shaped like maple leaves. They’re available in hard, clear amber leaf or a semisoft, opaque beige leaf.

Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 55 minutes.

   
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Maple cheesecake. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

 
RECIPE: COUTURE’S MAPLE CHEESECAKE

Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 sleeve graham crackers (9 whole crackers)
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar (or substitute white sugar)
  • 3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese at room temperature or softened in microwave (you can substitute reduced fat cream cheese)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup (see the different grades of maple syrup)
  • Optional garnish: maple leaf candies in maple syrup or maple sugar

 

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Indulge yourself: Maple sugar makes a difference in delivering great maple flavor. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.
  Preparation

1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil (to prevent leakage while baking).

2. PLACE the graham crackers in 1-gallon zip-close bag; crush into fine crumbs with rolling pin or heavy pan (you will have about 1-1/3 cups). Combine in a bowl with butter and sugar, stirring until well blended. Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan.

3. COMBINE the cream cheese and eggs in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the maple syrup and process until combined. (Alternatively, in large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time just until blended, then beat in the maple syrup.) Pour the mixture into the crust. To ensure no cracks on the top of the cheesecake, create an optional bain-marie: Place cheesecake in large roasting pan and add boiling water partway up sides before baking.

4. BAKE for 45 to 55 minutes or until set nearly all the way to the center. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Remove from pan, garnish with candies around the top rim and serve.

 

WHAT IS MAPLE SUGAR

Maple sugar was the preferred form of maple by First Nations/Native American peoples. Unlike the sap or syrup, the sugar could easily be transported.

It is produced by evaporating the sap of the sugar maple tree (and some other maples). The sap is boiled until almost all of the water has been removed and the remainder has crystallized solid (the same process is used to boil sugar cane sap into table sugar).

Maple sugar has a strong maple flavor and aroma, just like maple syrup. It sold in pressed blocks, granulated in bags, or molded into small shapes like maple leaves, to be enjoyed as candy.

Maple sugar can be used in recipes in the same way as cane sugar is used, but is almost twice as sweet—so plan accordingly in recipes. A rule of thumb: When using maple sugar, use slightly more than half the amount specified for cane sugar.

We enjoy using it:

  • In baking (it’s a nice surprise in a pie crust)
  • In coffee or tea
  • On oatmeal
  • In meat rubs

  




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