Amoretti and Poached Pear Cheesecake

I love baked cheesecakes and here’s one worthy of that fine emotion. The texture, the taste, the flavour – all are lovely. Like all good baked cheesecakes, it takes a while to make, but you won’t regret the time so well spent.

Serves: 10 – 12

Time: The base: 30 minutes + another 30 chilling. Cheesecake: An hour + 2 more for cooling. Decorating: Depends what you do. It could be 5 minutes or longer.

Level: Moderate

Tins: 1 x 20cm/8” round loose bottomed cake tin, with sides at least 35mm/1¼” deep


For the base

  • 300g/10oz biscuits (Mainly Amoretti, but a few hobnobs or digestives can go into the mix if you don’t have enough.)
  • 50g/1.75oz ground almonds
  • 75g/2.5oz unsalted butter + a little more to grease the inside of the tin later
  • 50g/1.75oz golden syrup

For the cheesecake

  • 150g/5.5oz caster sugar
  • 250g/9oz full fat cream cheese (e.g. Philadelphia)
  • 250g/9oz mascarpone
  • 2 large eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 50ml/1.75fl oz Amoretto liqueur (You could leave this out, but what a shame, it’s so nice.)
  • 4 tbsp plain flour

For the poached pears

  • 50ml/1.75fl oz Amoretto liqueur (alternatively fruit juice, sherry etc.)
  • 100g/3.5oz caster sugar
  • 2 – 3 medium pears + 2 more if you intend using them as decoration
  • Enough water to at least half cover the pears in a saucepan


1. Grease and line the base of the tin. At some point you will need to preheat the oven to 180C / fan 160C / 350F / Gas 4. It’s up to you when you turn it on, but it needs to be at the right temperature by stage 8..

2. Whizz or bash all the biscuits until finely crumbled then stir in the ground almonds. Remove about 125g/4.5oz and set aside. Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan then pour into the remaining biscuit crumbs. Stir well to coat all the pieces.

3. Press the mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a spoon or the flat side of a plastic dough scraper. Either bake for 10 – 12 minutes then set aside to cool, or simply place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until firm.

4. Meanwhile, put the liqueur and water in a saucepan with the sugar. Heat and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Peel and slice the pears. Place the slices in the warm liquid and increase the heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes – until the slices have softened a little, but still hold their shape. Take the saucepan off the heat and place it in a sink with a few inches of cold water, keeping the pear slices in there to avoid them going brown. Leave to cool.

5. Put all the cheesecake ingredients (sugar, cream cheese, mascarpone, eggs, yolk, almond extract, amoretto liqueur and flour) into a large mixing bowl. Mix at a steady speed rather than whisking quickly so that as little air as possible is added to the mixture. Continue until everything is incorporated and smooth.

6. Lightly brush melted butter inside the cake tin then sprinkle with some of the retained biscuit crumbs until nicely coated. Take the cooled pear slices and layer them on top of the cooled cheesecake base. (Keep the poaching liquid, you may decide to use it later.)

7. Gently, pour the cheesecake mixture onto the sliced pears.

8. Tap the tin firmly on a work surface to release any air bubbles then bake for around 40 minutes.* (It needs to be almost set, with a slight wobble in the middle.) Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for at least an hour to cool, with the door slightly ajar. Place in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours. (If cracks do appear, don’t worry, you can hide them in a minute.)

*N.B. Some people advocate using a bain marie; I prefer to use a wetted “Bake Even” band around the tin.

9. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and sprinkle over the remaining biscuit crumbs.   If you haven’t already done so, take the cheesecake out of the tin and it can now be served.

10. (Optional) The two extra pears, either poached or not, could be sliced and used to decorate the cheesecake. Be aware though, that this will wet the crumb layer, which might not be desirable. If, like below, your pear slices are very pale it might be worth removing them, sprinkling them with sugar and giving them a brief blast with a cook’s blow torch.

11. (Also optional) Heat the poaching liquid to reduce it to a thicker syrup and use with cut slices of cheesecake plus whipped double cream or Greek yogurt or crème fraiche etcetera. 

I hope you make this cheesecake and enjoy doing so. I’ve written the recipe with a few options and ideas for changes. Feel free to experiment. I’d love to hear, and see, how you get on. Let me know via the contact page:

And for more lovely cheesecakes go to: