Usually, when you’re a bit of a food snob, words like “frozen” or “canned” will make you scoff or cringe.
Frozen and canned goods have their place, though — how else could we enjoy chestnuts and pumpkin in June, or peaches and berries in December, if not for our willingness to can and preserve them?
And don’t say that we should just use tons and tons of energy on greenhouse environments or mass import our out-of-season produce from overseas instead…
Agricultural practices like that are totally unsustainable and will ultimately ruin this Earth that’s been so good to us!
So go buy a can of chestnut puree and make some chestnut cheesecake.
Freeze the puree you don’t use for another day.
It’s okay to use canned food sometimes.
Chestnut Cheesecake Bars
*recipe by Christine
- 3 cups (1 large package) nilla wafer cookies, crushed
- 1/4 cup chestnut or all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large tub (500g/18oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup unsweetened chestnut puree, mashed
- 2 tablespoons chestnut or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup superfine white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup chestnut liqueur OR…
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk + 2 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 small tub (275g/10oz) mascarpone cheese
- 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven 325°F/165°C. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
First, make the crust. Pulverize 1 package of nilla wafers with 1/4 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a food processor.
Turn out the finely ground cookie mixture into a bowl, drizzle with 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and mix until the butter is distributed evenly.
Press the buttery crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Next, make the cheesecake filling: beat the cream cheese with a whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the chestnut puree and beat until completely smooth again, then whisk in the flour, cinnamon, and white sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the evaporated milk and chestnut liqueur (if using).
Pour the batter into the pan. Spread evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Bake for 45 ~ 50 minutes, or until the middle of the cheesecake barely jiggles when nudged.
Let the cheesecake cool for an hour before chilling for at least 4 hours.
Once ready to serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan and slice into bars. Trim the crusts if desired.
To make the sweet marscapone topping, simply whisk 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar into the marscapone cheese, then use a piping bag to decorate the top of the cheesecake bars.
Okay — my little rant about food and sustainability aside, this dessert is totally amazing.
Combining chestnut and cheese produces a slightly sweet, creamy flavour and a smooth, melt-on-your-tongue texture. The cinnamon crust and the vanilla marscapone compliment the natural sweetness of chestnuts and ties this cheesecake’s warm flavours all together.
This is definitely one of the best recipes I’ve ever made. Yum!