Daring Bakers Challenge : Cheesecake

Brie and white chocolate cheesecake, pecans and celery

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

I guess I’ll start by being completely honest and saying that I’m not a huge fan of cheesecake. The only cheesecake I would ever pay money for, comes from Yellow Bistro in Potts Point. Other than that, I’ll eat it if placed in front of me (because I’ll try anything at least once), but only with great dismay at the thought of there being so many other delicious things I could be putting on my hips instead.

The idea for the Brie cheesecake came from a chance conversation with Lorraine about cheesecakes. Somehow the word “cheeseplate cheesecake” was thrown out there and at some point we even contemplated collaborating to create an entire platter of cheeseplate-themed cheesecakes. Unfortunately, time and busy lives prevented this from occuring.

I know it is a little cliched that I have decided to present this as a ‘deconstructed’ cheesecake. The idea has been done to death before, but I thought the presentation would really suit the cheeseplate theme. The Brie flavour in this cheesecake is actually quite subtle. If you eat it alone, you will find that the cream cheese and white chocolate flavours are dominant, while the Brie-ness is only more apparent at the finish. However, the flavour really comes to the fore when you take a bite with the accompanying candied (and slightly salty) celery.

Brie and white chocolate cheesecake, pecans and celery :
(This recipe is a combination of Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake, and a Brie-white chocolate cheesecake from Pure Chocolate by Fran Biglow)

Brie and white chocolate cheesecake :
270g cream cheese
65g caster sugar
40g white chocolate
2 eggs
135g triple cream brie (weight after rind has been removed)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150’C.

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in a double boiler. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer the cheese to a separate bowl and set aside.

In the same mixing bowl using the paddle attachment, beat the Brie until completely smooth. With the machine still going, gradually add the cream cheese to the Brie, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time. Pour in the melted white chocolate and continue to mix until well blended and smooth. Pour into a baking dish and bake it in a waterbath for about 55 minutes (it may take longer depending on the size of your dish). The cheesecake should have a slight jiggle to it. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the waterbath, then cover and put in the fridge to chill.

Pecan ‘crust’ :
110g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
70g unsalted butter
65g light brown sugar
30g pecans, roughly chopped

Combine the flour, baking powder in a bowl. Rub in the butter then add the brown sugar and pecans. Scatter this mixture on a lined tray and bake at 170’C for about 35 minutes until browned. Stir the mixture occasionally during the baking time, to ensure even cooking.

Celery confit :
(based on recipe in Wild Sweets by Dominique and Cindy Duby)
100g celery stalks
150ml sugar syrup
50ml water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon yuzu (or lemon) juice

Trim stalks and remove filaments with a paring knife. Using a potato peeler, shave long vertical strips the length of the stalk.

Bring the syrup, water, salt and yuzu to a boil. Taste and adjust with more salt if necessary. The salt is important to balance the sweetness. Add the celery and cook until soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from syrup and chill until required.

To assemble :
Spoon the baked cheesecake mixture into a food processor. Process briefly until smooth.

Place a teaspoonful of cranberry relish or jam on the plate (this is optional). Scatter the pecan crust over this. Arrange a spoonful of cheesecake mixture on top of the crust. Serve alongside the candied celery strips.

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  1. nico said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 2:22 am

    love your blog!! you have very nice pictures.

  2. matt wright said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 3:53 am

    Like you, I am not a huge fan of cheesecake, but then have certainly never had a brie version, which I am sure is bloody amazing.

    Love the play on cheesecake here – from the ingredients to the presentation – thoroughly modern but without pretension. Fantabulous.

  3. mallory elise said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 5:11 am

    ahk!!! oh my god i want that, i’m not a big cheesecake fan either, but a brie cheesecake, holy crap that sounds like ecstasy… and with white chocolate, oooooooh 🙂

  4. ROSE said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 5:19 am

    outstanding! love the presentation! MMmmm! brie and white chocolate?! I must try!

  5. chocolateshavings said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 8:37 am

    What a beautiful presentation.. and what a combo!

  6. prettytastycakes said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    What an interesting combination of flavors and gorgeous plating! Looks like we both went the cashew crust route! Just lovely…

  7. Holly said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

    Perfectly stunning!

  8. Lauren said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

    Mmm, your cheesecake looks amazing!! I love the idea of using brie =D.

  9. Lisa said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    What a brilliant take on the challenge, and I would DIE to try the brie-white chocolate combo! Incredibly executed, Y – and great photos!

  10. Meeta said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

    a lovely creative interpretation on the challenge. well done!

  11. jo said,

    April 28, 2009 @ 11:37 pm

    Great job in your interpretation of this month’s challenge. Love the presentation and the pictures.

  12. Marija said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 12:13 am

    Oh man, I am crazy about brie! I love how you made it!

  13. Dimah said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    Gorgeous cheesecake! well done!

  14. steph (whisk/spoon) said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 6:04 am

    “cheeseplate cheesecake”–that’s just fun to say! what a great idea, and so beautifully executed!

  15. lisaiscooking said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 7:32 am

    Very interesting approach! And, it looks delicious. I’d love to try a full cheesecake cheeseplate.

  16. Marika said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    Love the presentation! And Celery confit sounds mmmmm.

  17. Big Boys Oven said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 2:50 pm

    i am amazed with the skills, thinking and also your creativity in creating this cheesecake, Great combination of ingredient infused into one, bravo chef! awesomely fantastic.

  18. Andrea said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

    What a neat way to interpret the theme. I love Brie and adding it to cheesecake would be delicious! Lovely job!

  19. JennyBakes said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 12:27 am

    You really put a lot of thought into this. I really like the cheeseplate cheesecake concept, and love the choices you made. Cheesecake isn’t actually my favorite thing either, actually, but I have really been enjoying all the directions people have been taking this recipe!

  20. Jess said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 4:27 am

    Delicious! I would have never thought to make candied celery or put it with a cheesecake. That sounds so good and they look Gorgeous!

  21. Jenna @ Newlyweds said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 5:15 am

    Brie, celery and cheesecake, fabulous concept. Beautiful display!

  22. Chantal said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 9:18 am

    Intriguing interpretation

  23. Holly said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 11:13 am

    Such an interesting combination of flavors!

  24. Zoë Fançois said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    This is seriously gorgeous!!! I just love it.

  25. Thip said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

    I love your idea, Y. Cool!!

  26. Coffee and Vanilla said,

    May 1, 2009 @ 8:04 am

    What an original way of presenting cheesecake! Love it 🙂

  27. noobcook said,

    May 4, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

    I love the styling of your ‘deconstructed’ cheesecake. it is absolutely stunning =)

  28. pixie said,

    May 8, 2009 @ 11:23 am

    i love how you deconstructed the cheesecake and am very intrigued by the flavors and the celery! bravo!

  29. K said,

    May 12, 2009 @ 12:00 am

    ingenious presentation idea! hahaha AMAZING!!

  30. KennaMcD said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 4:14 am

    Wow, candied celery….very interesting! I had never heard of that! Great job.

  31. Millie said,

    November 6, 2015 @ 8:17 am

    Thank you Lauren’s aunty I go to the same school as Lauren St Hilda’s

  32. Y said,

    November 6, 2015 @ 5:06 pm

    Hi Millie, thanks for your comment!

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