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Make this show-stopping dessert for the holidays—a creamy maple filling, crunchy spiced pecan crust and a drizzle of pure maple syrup over the top.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with aluminum foil (this is to ensure the pan is water-tight while baking inside a water bath). Set a kettle full of water on the stove to boil (for the water bath).
Put graham cracker crumbs, sugar, spices, and pecans into a food processor. Pulse until it becomes a crumb mixture. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse again until it clumps up. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the springform pan and a little up the sides. Place the pan in the refrigerator to firm up while you make the filling.
Clean out your food processor bowl and add the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, maple syrup, and extract. Turn the processor on and gradually add the eggs through the feed tube one at a time, continuing to process until the mixture is smooth. Add the lemon juice and pulse again.
Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator and place it inside of a large rimmed roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling on top of the crust and smooth the top. Place the roasting pan into the oven and fill the roasting pan with freshly boiled water, about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake 60-75 minutes. The cheesecake should be set on top and only slightly wobbly in the center. Carefully remove the entire pan from the oven, then gently remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Peel away the foil and allow the cheesecake to cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to two days) before serving.
To serve, remove the springform from around the cheesecake. Pour about 1/4 cup or so of pure maple syrup on top of the cake, using the back of a spoon to gently guide it to the edges (some syrup may drizzle over the sides, which makes a beautiful presentation). Pecans can also be added for garnish. Slice and serve.
Adapted from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson.
The ‘pots’ for pots de crème au chocolat are not a requirement for making this dark chocolate cream. The dessert may very well be made in ramekins and it will taste every bit as good.
In taste and texture the baked cream resembles a dark chocolate truffle which is why a small ‘pot’ goes a long way. However the special charm of the dessert is in the tubby little lidded ceramic ‘pots’ in which it traditionally is baked.
I chose to use semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate, so that the chocolate flavor would really punch through. This provided the perfect balance of chocolate to make the whole frosting completely “milk chocolate” in flavor.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!