A friend of ours recently popped back to Oz from his current home in Paris and cruelly brought us a jar of Speculoos paste as a present.
If you’ve ever coffeed in Amsterdam or thereabouts, they probably put one of those yummy cinnamon biscuits in the saucer. And this jar is full of something with the consistency of smooth peanut butter, but the most delicious cinnamon aroma and amazing taste – a gooey version of the biscuit.
So, after having woofed plenty off the spoon, and mixed a few more handfuls into ice cream (mmmmm), it occurred to me that this stuff would make an AMAZING cheesecake!
250g Speculoos biscuits (mine came from the local deli)
100g butter (melted)
500g cream cheese (softened)
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup Speculoos paste
3 free-range eggs (I use 70g – “large”)
Grease a 9”/23cm springform pan, and lay a piece of baking paper over the base. (You can use an 8”/20cm pan if you prefer). I have a fan-forced electric oven, so I set it to 150°C. If yours isn’t, set it for 170°C.
If like me you’ve only just taken the cream cheese out of the fridge (and the ingredients list does say “softened”), cut it into small cubes, place in a bowl and microwave for 10s on the lowest setting. Stir and repeat a few times until it’s soft. Be careful here – don’t overdo it. The last few times you might only want to go for 3 or 4 seconds at a time.
Crumble the biscuits roughly in your fingers and stick them in the food processor, then process to a fine crumbs. Run a fork through the bowl to check for and remove any bits that haven’t broken down. They’re yours.
Pour in the melted butter while the motor’s running, then turn off, remove the blade and stir with a wooden spoon to make sure it’s well mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan and press towards the edges with your fingers. The excess will start to rise up the edges. Push right into the corner, as that will help square up the edge (so you don’t end up with an overly biscuitty corner) and give you some more height for the walls.
Rest the pan in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in the Speculoos, followed by the cream.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat until the lot is well mixed.
Pour into the pan, smooth the top and bake for around 45-50 minutes, until it’s just firm in the centre – it should have a very custard-like consistency when it’s done.
Mine tend to brown a little on top, so for the last 15 minutes of cooking I usually place some aluminium foil over the top.
Cool it in the oven with the door ajar. It will rise while baking and then sink back down as it cools. Cooling it in the oven helps prevent cracks from accelerated cooling.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Carefully remove from the tin. Slide a thin knife around the inside of the collar to make sure the biscuit hasn’t stuck, then gently release the clamp.
Enjoy. It’s great with Sara Lee French Vanilla ice cream.
This recipe is based upon one from the Australian Women’s Weekly’s “Chocolate Cookbook”. Photography by Rocky.