(This recipe appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
It was the Mont Blanc, that famous French dessert, that inspired me to make this Chestnut and Blackcurrant cheesecake. I wanted to replicate the taste combinations of a Mont Blanc in a cheesecake form. Mont Blanc is a seasonal winter dessert. Most people consider chestnut desserts to be a delicacy, but in France and Japan chestnut is a very popular winter product. The tartness of blackcurrants juxtaposed with the sweetness of chestnut paste make my cheesecake appealing in terms of look and taste. It’s like American classics with an elegant French touch.
Yield: 8 portions
- 88 g water
- 22 g glucose syrup
- 86 g granulated sugar, divided
- 3 g pectin NH
- 0.15 g citric acid
- Heat the water, glucose syrup and 74 g of the sugar in a saucepan until it reaches 86˚F (30˚C).
- Mix together the remaining 12 g sugar with the pectin. Add the mixture to the saucepan containing the sugar syrup; bring to a boil, then add the citric acid. Allow to boil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Strain the gel, transfer to a clean container and place in the refrigerator to stabilize for at least 6 hours.
- 200 g all-purpose flour
- 80 g confectioners’ sugar
- 30 g almond powder
- 2 g sea salt
- 110 g unsalted butter 82%, chilled and cubed
- 40 g eggs
- Sift together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and almond powder and place in bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and butter cubes and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until a fine crumb forms. Add the eggs and mix until the dough is homogenous and has a pliable texture.
- Roll out the dough between two guitar or parchment paper sheets to a thickness of 2-3 mm and bake it at 302˚F (150 °C) for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
- 320 g baked and ground shortbread
- 30 g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
- 30 g hazelnut powder
- 1 g sea salt
- 2 g vanilla powder
- 70 g unsalted butter 82%, softened
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the softened butter. Mix until homogeneous.
- Put 350 g of the mixture into a cake ring which is 7ʺ (18 cm) in diameter and 2.3ʺ (6 cm) high and press it to the sides of the ring to form even borders. Then pour the rest of the mixture into the cake ring and press it to make the bottom part of the crust. Put the cheesecake crust in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.
- 25 g blackcurrant purée
- 30 g granulated sugar
- 1.5 g pectin NH
- 74 g fresh or frozen blackcurrants
- Pour the blackcurrant purée into a saucepan and start warming it over low heat to about 95-104 °F (35-40 °C).
- Mix the sugar with the pectin. Gradually sprinkle this mixture into the purée, actively stirring with a whisk. Add the blackcurrants and bring everything to a boil. Remove the compote from the heat, pour it into a separate container and cover with cling film, touching the surface. Let it cool down and stabilize in the refrigerator.
- 145 g milk 2.5%
- 27 g granulated sugar
- 10 g cornstarch
- 27 g egg yolks
- 40 g unsalted butter 82%
- Heat the milk in a saucepan to 140-158˚F (60-70˚C).
- Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the egg yolks and mix vigorously until smooth. Gradually pour in the hot milk, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and bring to a boil on low-medium heat. Cook for about a minute and take it off the heat. Add the butter and mix well with a whisk.
- Pour the finished pastry cream into a bowl and cover with cling film touching the surface. Let it cool down for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
- 568 g cream cheese, room temperature
- 82 g granulated sugar
- 13 g cornstarch
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 138 g whole eggs, room temperature
- 57 g heavy cream 35%
- 75 g cooked chestnuts
- Mix the cream cheese in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add the vanilla seeds, eggs and cream, and mix with a whisk. Gradually add the egg mixture to the cream cheese and mix until homogeneous. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Chop the cooked chestnuts into uniform pieces and fold them into the cheesecake filling. Pour the filling into the crust.
- Preheat the oven to 392 °F (200 °C), inject the steam, put the cheesecake inside and reduce the temperature to 212˚F (100 °C). Bake for 40 minutes. When ready, it should set on the sides, but jiggle in the middle. Allow the cheesecake to cool down completely at room temperature and then place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Stir the chilled Blackcurrant Compote and apply it on top of the cheesecake filling with a spatula. Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- 250 g chestnut paste
- 100 g pastry cream
- Place the chestnut paste in a mixer bowl and mix it slightly with a paddle attachment. Gradually add the Pastry Cream and mix until smooth.
- Pass the Chestnut Cream through a fine sieve and transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a vermicelli tip.
- Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and warm up the sides of the cake ring with a heat gun. Remove the ring. The cheesecake is ready to be decorated.
- Pipe two layers of the Chestnut Cream over the compote in a circular motion in order to cover the cheesecake’s surface completely. Then pipe a flower-shaped pattern in the middle.
- Dip the cooked chestnut into the hot Neutral Gel (140-158 °F/60-70 °C) and place it in the center of the cheesecake.
Photo Credit: Nataliya Khoroshaeva
About Aleksandr Trofimenkov
Alexsandr Trofimenkov is the pastry chef at the International Pastry Academy KICA in Kiev, Ukraine. When creating new recipes, he begins by sketching the appearance of the dessert and then searches the internet to improve the original design. The flavors should also complement the overall style and concept. He also considers and incorporates trends toward healthier and lighter pastries into his creations.