Few desserts entertain better than a decadent cheesecake bursting with colour and natural fragrances. They may look tricky but we’ll let you in on a secret… they’re a cinch! Here’s how to whip your own delectable dream  individual Brûlée Cheesecakes with Red Wine Pears and Vanilla Cream.

Makes 12 Individual Brûlée Cheesecakes (baked in muffin tins)

Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base (see recipe below)
500g cream cheese, warmed to room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 free-range eggs
Juice of one large mandarin
Extra caster sugar for brûlée topping

Preheat oven to 180C

Method

1. Prepare biscuit crumb base recipe, taking note of the additional mandarine zest.

2. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until smooth and sugar has dissolved.

3. Add vanilla bean paste and mandarin juice and mix well.

4. Beat in eggs, one at a time and mix until well combined.

5. Pour the cheesecake filling on top of each of the prepared biscuit crumb bases (within your muffin tins).

6. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly risen and just beginning to crack at the surface.

7. Switch off oven and allow the cheesecakes (inside their muffin tins) to cool inside the oven with the door ajar (approximately 2 hours).

8. Remove individual cheesecakes from muffin tins and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

9. Sprinkle generous amounts of caster sugar on top of each cheesecake and, using a brûlée torch, caramelise the sugar evenly.

Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base
Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base

Cheesecake Biscuit Crumb Base

Makes enough to line the base of a 20cm springform cake pan

200g buttersnap biscuits
125g unsalted butter, melted
Zest of one large mandarin

Method

1. Add biscuits to a food processor and blitz until a fine crumb.

2. While continuing to blitz slowly pour in the melted butter. Mix until well combined.

3. Remove from food processor and press into lined muffin tins.

Caramel Red Wine Pears
Caramel Red Wine Pears

Caramel Red Wine Pears

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
½ cup red wine
2 large cinnamon quills
4 pears, peeled and halved

Method

1. In a medium saucepan add sugar and half the water (1⁄2 a cup) and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until a caramel forms.

3. Carefully add the red wine (warning: it might splatter in the hot caramel), then add the remaining water and cinnamon quills.

4. Add pears to the saucepan and allow to cook gently until softened.

5. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.

Vanilla Bean Cream

300ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tbsp caster sugar

1. Chill your mixing bowl in the refrigerator to reduce any chance of the cream separating.

2. Combine 300ml thickened cream with the vanilla bean paste and caster sugar in the bowl.

3. Use an electric mixer or balloon whisk to whisk the cream until soft peaks are formed.

To Serve

Top each individual brûlée cheesecake with a dollop or quenelle of vanilla bean cream and a slice of caramel red wine pear.



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