A Cornish girl's food adventures

Pistachio and chocolate cheesecake

It wasn’t until I travelled to Sicily last year and happened upon the pistachio festival in Bronte that it occurred to me that something as decadent as pistachio paste could exist. But it does! Either as a thick nut butter or (even more gloriously) the pistachio version of nutella. I may or may not have demolished an entire jar of the latter during that trip.
This is a particularly luxurious, velvety baked cheesecake. Utterly delicious with rich chocolate and fragrant, sweet pistachios. It’s a truly delicious, indulgent dessert- perfect for special occasions.
You can easily make your own pistachio paste by shelling and skinning a bag of pistachios before grinding them to a paste in a food processor. You can skin the nuts very easily by letting them sit in hot water for a few minutes. The skins should then slip off quite easily.

200g digestive biscuits
80g butter
filling (make sure everything is at room temperature)
500g full fat cream cheese
200g sour cream
3 eggs
100g sugar
75g dark chocolate
150g pistachio paste

Lightly grease a spring-form cake tin and securely wrap the base with foil. Pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Crush the biscuits, either in a food processor or by putting them in a plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. Melt the butter and combine this with the biscuit crumbs before pressing the mixture firmly into the base and sides of the tin. Pop this in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling.

Melt the chocolate (in a double boiler or microwave) before leaving to cool a bit. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth, creamy and the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Mix in the sour cream and divide the batter in two. Mix the cooled melted chocolate into one half and the pistachio paste into the other. Make sure the flavourings are well combined into the batter, the pistachio paste may take a bit of stirring in. Pour the mixtures over the biscuit base, swirling and marbling them together. Give the tin a little shake and a tap to level things off and knock out any excess air bubbles. Put the tin in a bain-marie and bake the cheesecake for around 45 minutes. Once it’s done it should still be a little wobbly in the middle and be just starting to brown around the edges. Turn off the oven and take the cheesecake out of its water bath but leave it in the oven to cool. Once it’s room temperature move it to the fridge to chill totally before removing the tin and serving.

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