I'm a sucker for all things pistachio, but I think I've invented the best pistachio-related recipe yet. Pistachio. White Chocolate. Cheesecake. Baked.
With a splash of Strawberry & Blackberry Coulis to top things off.
Make this recipe now. Thank me later. Go go go. On a quick side note, I made this recipe using Skyr, a super thick Icelandic style yoghurt that’s naturally high in protein and fat free. Because, quite frankly, who wouldn't want to reduce the fat AND increase the protein content of a baked cheesecake whilst not comprising the taste. For me, that's winner all round. However, if you don't have access to Skyr or can't find it in the supermarket, fromage frais or plain Greek yoghurt are good substitutes.
Utensils: Small saucepan, clean dry kitchen towel, 2 large mixing bowls, cooking thermometer, wooden spoon, food processor, 8-inch springform cake tin (with tall sides) or 9-inch springform cake tin, non-stick baking paper, oil for greasing, wide heavy duty tin foil, small heatproof bowl, stand mixer with whisk attachment (or you could use a food processor), deep roasting tin large enough for the springform tin to sit in the middle of, sieve.
Top Tip: Some cheesecake recipes don’t call for a bain marie (water bath), but I get best results with one. It regulates the baking temperature of the cheesecake, which prevents it from overcooking and cracking. The steam from the water bath also prevents the top of the cheesecake from drying out and cracking because it keeps the air in the oven moist. You could try making this cheesecake without one but if you do, I still recommend wrapping your spingform tin in foil to help protect the cheesecake during baking.
100g pistachios, shelled
60g caster sugar
40g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Green and yellow gel food colouring
Approx 50ml water
Cheesecake Crust & Filling
100g digestive biscuits (ensure gluten-free if needed)
125g stem ginger biscuits (ensure gluten-free if needed)
65g unsalted butter, melted
225g good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled
225g pistachio paste
500g plain Skyr (or fromage frais or plain Greek yoghurt are good substitutes), at room temperature
350g cream cheese, at room temperature
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Handful of chopped pistachios
Handful of strawberries
Handful of blackberries
Strawberry & Blackberry Coulis
125g strawberries, washed and halved
125g blackberries, washed and halved
20g caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Makes: One tall 8 inch cheesecake or one flatter 9 inch cheesecake
1. Make the pistachio paste: Place about 3 inches of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the shelled pistachios to the saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the pistachios. Using a clean, dry kitchen towel, rub the pistachios to remove the skins. Once all the skins have been removed, place the pistachios in a large mixing bowl.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the caster sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and stir to combine. Over a medium heat, bring the sugar syrup to a boil until it reaches 120°C on a cooking thermometer. Do not stir the sugar when it is heating as it may crystallise, instead gently swirl the pan to ensure the sugar doesn't burn.
3. Pour the sugar syrup onto the pistachios and mix quickly and firmly using a wooden spoon until all of the pistachios are covered in sugar. The sugar will crystallise as it begins to cool. Keep mixing until all of the sugar has crystallised and all of the pistachios are coated.
4. Place the sugared pistachios in the bowl of a food processor with the ground almonds and almond extract. Grind to a smooth paste. Once a paste has formed, add water a little at a time until you have a smooth, spoon-able paste with a similar consistency to chocolate spread. I used about 50ml but you may need more or less. Add green and yellow food colourings as desired to get the right look for your cheesecake. Bear in mind that the colour of the paste will be diluted by the cheesecake mixture, so the paste will need to be quite brightly coloured. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and set to one side until needed.
5. Prepare your springform tin: Grease and line the base of a tall 8-inch springform tin or a 9-inch spingform tin. Now is also a good time to prepare the tin for the bain marie (water bath) it will sit in in the oven. Take a large piece of heavy duty tin foil and wrap it tightly around the bottom and sides of the tin so that no water from the bain marie will leak into the tin when baking. Repeat with another piece of tin foil. If your tin foil is not large enough to wrap around the bottom and sides of the tin in one go, follow these steps to create a tight seal around your springform tin using several pieces of tin foil.
6. Make the cheesecake crust: Whizz the digestive and stem ginger biscuits in a food processor until they are crumbs, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and mix in the melted butter. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the base of the prepared tin using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to firm up while you making the cheesecake filling.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan). In a small heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate in short bursts in the microwave or set over a small saucepan of simmering water (the bowl should not touch the water). Remove from the heat once melted and set to one side to cool, stirring every so often to ensure the chocolate does not re-solidify.
8. Make the cheesecake filling: Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment (or you could use a food processor for this part too), beat together the Skyr, cream cheese and golden caster sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until combined. Split the mixture equally between two mixing bowls. To one bowl, add the melted white chocolate and stir until smooth. To the other bowl, add 225g of your pistachio paste and stir until smooth (you can freeze any leftover paste for another time).
9. Add one large spoonful of the white chocolate mix to the middle of the cheesecake tin. Then add one large spoonful of the pistachio mix to the middle. The mixture will spread outwards towards the edge of the tin as you add more mixture. Repeat this process until you have used up all of both mixtures. I ended up with a little more pistachio mix than white chocolate so ended with this. If you'd like the top of your cheesecake to be mostly green, as shown above, use a small spatula to spread the final spoonful of pistachio mix over the full surface of the cheesecake.
10. Place the cheesecake in the centre of a deep roasting tin, then place in the centre of your pre-heated oven. Add freshly boiled water from the kettle to the roasting tin until it reaches about 1/3 of the way up the springform tin, but does not go over the foil covering the tin. Bake for about 1 hour until slightly risen, the edges are set but the centre is still slightly wobbly. If very wobbly, continue to cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
11. When you think the cheesecake is done, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the oven door closed for half an hour. Then, prop the oven door open slightly and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another half an hour. Doing this helps to ensure the cheesecake doesn't crack. Finally, take the cheesecake out of the oven, slide a knife around the sides of the tin and then leave to cool on the kitchen side in the tin until it is cool enough to go in the fridge. Leave to set in the tin in the fridge until firm (ideally overnight or for at least 5 hours).
12. Make the strawberry and blackberry coulis: Put the fruit and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently to prevent it from scorching and simmer softly for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve, making sure to work the pulp with the back of a spoon in order to extract as much juice as possible. Add the lemon juice and stir.
13. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and place on a presentation plate. Decorate the top of the cheesecake with handfuls of pistachios, strawberries and blackberries as desired. For serving, decant the coulis into a small jug and allow people to pour themselves a helping.
Storage: Store any leftover cheesecake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store any leftover coulis in the jug covered with a little clingfilm or tin foil. Both are best eaten the day after they are made to allow the cheesecake plenty of time to set.