Maple walnut cheesecake

Photographer: Emma
Serves 12

My mum and my boyfriend have had numerous discussions (arguments) about cheesecake, usually ending in “I like it better than you”…“no way, I love it the most” (it goes on and on).

In the last few weeks I’ve made two cheesecakes and I’ve let these connoisseurs try both. Although sometimes brutally honest, these self-proclaimed experts do provide some great feedback. They usually agree on which combination of flavours work best and whether I’ve nailed the base:filling:topping ratio.

This one went down exceptionally well – it’s a little different to my usual biscuit-base version using short crust pastry speckled with crushed fresh walnuts.

The first time I had fresh walnuts was last summer in Blenheim, previously to this I had never considered walnuts as summer bounty. And after only eating them from the bulk bins or from little packets I was shocked how much better the flavour and texture of fresh ones were. They do take a little bit of effort to crack the shells but it’s totally worth it if you ever get your hands on any.



65g butter
50g icing sugar
130g flour
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp water
100g walnuts

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tsp gelatine powder
150 ml tepid water

To finish
Maple syrup to drizzle


1. Blend the very cold butter with the icing sugar and flour in a food processor.
2. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolk with the water.
3. Slowly pulse the egg yolk mixture into the butter and flour mixture. Mix until it is just coming together, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead a little to form a ball.
4. Place walnuts in a bag and beat the bag with a rolling pin to crush the nuts.
5. Knead the walnuts into the pastry until only just combined then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
6. Once chilled, pre heat oven to 180ºC. Roll pastry out to approximately 3mm thick and use to line a 28cm loose bottom tart tin. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
7. Blind bake the pastry for 12 minutes, then set aside while you prepare the filling.

8. Dissolve the gelatine in the tepid water.
9. In a large bowl mix the cream cheese with the sugar and gelatine in water with an electric hand beater (or you can use a cake mixer with the paddle attachment).
10. Spoon this into the baked tart shell and refrigerate just until set.

To finish
11. Drizzle the cheesecake with good quality maple syrup and serve immediately.