I am guilty of hoarding. And ever since I started baking, I am guilty of hoarding recipe books. And the name that appears time and time again on my book shelve is none other than the Picasso of Pastry, Pierre Hermé.
It has been a while since I baked from recipe books. But for the past week, I happened to dig out Pierre Hermé’s Pastries, and gosh, I did not know there are so many interesting recipes in there! I can’t even decide which one to try first. Finally, as I was on the lookout for an interesting cheesecake recipe, I decided to try this one, with pistachios and sour cherries. Doesn’t that sound just absolutely delicious!
Makes a 6-inch round cake
For the poached sour cherries
50g caster sugar
125g frozen sour cherries
1) Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan.
2) Place the frozen cherries in a bowl and pour the boiling syrup over them.
3) Cover with cling wrap and allow to macerate in the refrigerator overnight.
For the pâte sucrée beurrée
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
95g icing sugar, sifted
30g ground almond
2g fleur de sel de Guérande
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
50g egg, beaten (roughly 1 medium)
250g plain flour
1) In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the dough blade, beat the butter until smooth.
2) Add the icing sugar, ground almond, fleur de sell and vanilla bean paste.
3) Finally, add the egg then sift the plain flour into the mixture and process until the dough forms a ball.
4) The dough is enough for 6 portions of 6-inch bases, so, divide it by weight into 6 portions. Measure out one portion, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Wrap and freeze the rest for future use.
For the cheesecake base
1 portion of pâte sucrée beurrée (above)
50g unsalted butter, softened
1) Preheat oven to 170C fan and line a baking tray with parchment or silicon mat.
2) Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm, place on the prepared baking tray and bake for 12 to 14 minutes until golden brown.
3) Set aside to cool.
4) Break into pieces and place into the bowl of a food processor. Process to fine powder.
5) Add the softened butter and process until fully incorporated.
6) Line the base of a 6-inch round cake tin with removable base with parchment paper.
7) Press the buttered dough mixture into the prepared cake tin, covering the entire base evenly. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
8) Preheat the oven to 150C fan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. If not making the cheesecake filling immediately, freeze the entire cake tin.
For the cream cheese filling
225g cream cheese, at room temperature
62g caster sugar
10g plain flour
60g egg, beaten (roughly 1 large)
15g heavy cream
20g pistachio paste
37g shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
1) Preheat oven to 90C fan.
2) In the bowl of a food processor, process the cream cheese and sugar for 2 minutes.
3) Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.
4) Pour cream cheese filling onto cooled pastry base in the cake tin and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Cheesecake filling should not wobble when done. Allow to cool.
5) Drain the macerated sour cherries and pat dry on paper towels. Arrange cherries evenly over the baked cheesecake filling.
For the cream cheese and pistachio mousse
5g icing sugar
100g heavy cream
1 1/2 sheet gelatine leaves
25g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
10g pistachio paste
80g cream cheese
1) Whip the icing sugar and heavy cream until stiff peaks. Scrap into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until required.
2) Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water to bloom.
3) In a small saucepan, boil the water and sugar until 121C.
4) Place the egg yolk in a bowl and using a handheld whisk (or if you are confident, by hand), whisk the yolk while carefully pouring in the syrup. Continue whisking until egg yolk mixture has cooled.
5) Place the cream cheese and pistachio paste in a bowl and allow to melt over a bain-marie.
6) Squeeze excess water from the gelatine sheets and add to the cream cheese mixture. Stir to melt.
7) Remove from bain-marie and fold in the egg yolk mixture. Allow to cool then fold in the whipped cream.
8) Pour mousse over the sour cherries in the cake tin. Smooth the top with a spatula then allow to freeze for at least 3 hours.
30g shelled pistachios, toasted
60g white chocolate couverture
a pinch of finely ground fleur de sel de Guérande
1) Using a nut grinder, grind the pistachios until a fine powder.
2) Remove cake from freezer and unmould, be careful not to damage the sides of the cake.
3) Sprinkle ground pistachio over the top of the cake, covering the entire top evenly. Return to freezer.
4) Temper the white chocolate couverture by heating 2/3 of it to 55C over a bain-marie. Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining 1/3 and allow to cool to 27C. Then heat the chocolate again until 33C. Stir in the fleur de sel.
5) Prepare an acetate sheet that is long enough to wrap around the sides of the cake with a little extra for handling.
6) Spread the white chocolate over the acetate sheet. Just before it sets. remove cake from freezer and wrap the white chocolate collar around the cake. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then, carefully peel away the acetate sheet.
A note about the pistachio paste I used here. Unlike the regular greenish pistachio paste, I used a slightly brownish one, which imported from Italy. I find the green ones tend to taste a tad sweet and medicinal. I prefer the taste of the one I used, which is basically pistachios ground to a smooth paste and is super fragrant.
Honestly, I couldn’t wait to cut into the cake. And boy, it was delicious. The sour cherries balanced the fragrant pistachio cheesecake perfectly. And the mousse layer added an additional dimension to the already awesome dessert. I have eaten almost half the cake in 3 days. So, that is a better testament than anything else.