Christmas Pudding Baked Cheesecake

You love cheesecake, don’t you? Me too. And I love Christmas pudding. So, I thought, what about having them both together? Well, it actually works. They taste great on their own; they taste even better together. And, if you have any left over Christmas pudding on Boxing Day, here’s a super way to use it.

Serves: 10 – 12

Time: About 2 hours + cooling and chilling time

Difficulty: Moderate

Cooking vessel: A 20cm/8” loose bottomed tin with deep sides.

Ingredients

Base & topping

  • 250g/9oz biscuits (Ginger nuts, digestives, or make your own*)
  • 2 – 3 tsp of ground “Christmassy spices” (create your own mixture from: cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mixed spices** etcetera)
  • 75g/2.5oz butter and/or brandy butter if you have any to use up
  • 50g/1.75oz golden syrup
  • 2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 50g/1.75oz walnuts, broken into small pieces – NOT whizzed finely

* You could make my Oat and Walnut biscuits. Not only are they quick, easy and perfectly crumbly, they can also be gluten free. In fact, I wrote the recipe so that I could make this cheesecake especially for a GF friend.

** Be aware that some of these spices – ginger and cloves particularly – are strong flavours and could easily dominate the others, so ½tsp is maybe enough. You could make a mix first then taste it.

The Cheesecake filling

  • 325g/11oz full fat cream cheese  (or mascarpone)
  • 225g/8oz Ricotta    
  • 200g/7oz white caster sugar        
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 – 4 tsp of ground Christmassy spices, as above
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Orange (just use zest and juice from half, save the second half for later )                  
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 150g/5.5oz – 200g/7oz pre-cooked Christmas pudding, crumbled
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • Zest from the other half orange

Method

1. Grease and line the base of the tin. (I also used two wetted “Bake Even” bands around the tin, one on top of the other. You might prefer using a water bath.)

2. Whizz the biscuits and spices in a food processor until crumb-like. (Or place in a bag and bash with a rolling pin.) Stir in the walnut pieces. Set aside enough to use later as a topping – about 3 – 4 Tbsp.

3. Melt the butter and golden syrup together, take off the heat then add the brandy (if using). Pour over the biscuits and mix together.

4. Press the mixture into the base of the tin and a little way up the sides if you have enough. If not, don’t worry. Use the back of a spoon or a plastic dough scraper to firm it. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  

5. Heat the oven to 170C/ fan 150C/ 325F/ Gas 3. Put a baking sheet in to heat up.

6. To make the filling, pulse or beat the cream cheese, ricotta and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Stir or pulse in the spices, vanilla extract, orange zest and orange juice.

7. Mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of the mixture. Make sure there are no lumps (sieve if necessary) then stir this back into the main mixture.

8. Spoon or pour the mixture into the prepared tin and drop in the pieces of Christmas pudding. Some can be pushed in to submerge, others left. Tap the tin a couple of times on your work surface to release any air pockets.

9. Place the tin on the pre-heated baking sheet in case of leakage then bake for around 70 – 75 minutes. Check after 60. It needs to be set around the edges, possibly pulling away from the sides, but still a little wobbly in the middle.

10. Turn the oven off and remove the cheesecake. Sprinkle the reserved biscuit and walnut crumbs over the cheesecake and return it to the oven with the door slightly open until it has cooled fully.

11. Once the cheesecake has cooled, place it in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours or overnight. When ready, remove from the tin and transfer to a plate or cake stand. Before serving, dust with icing sugar and grate over the zest from the second orange half.

I hope you have a go at this unusual, but lovely cheesecake. If you’re reading this with the 25th approaching I’ll wish you a very happy Christmas. If it’s afterwards, maybe on Boxing Day, then I hope you’ve had a great time and may God Bless you in the year ahead. Happy baking. Ian