Not that “normal” is a term that tends to apply to my life, or me, or Ian for that matter, but things are starting to get back to normal-for-us around here; I will be starting work soon, and am almost completely recovered from my illness, and Ian has contracted the awful chest cold going around, but is fighting it like a champ. I wish I had half of his fortitude. Between feeling better, and the great weather we had this weekend, I decided I wanted to make something a little special, to really celebrate our new home here in Portland. While the cheesecake itself cooled, we took a day trip (if you can even call a fifteen-minute drive a day trip!) to Fort Williams Park and Portland Head Light.
Ian likes old forts as much as I like the ocean, so it was a perfect place to spend the afternoon walking around and enjoying the fresh air on such a beautiful, sunny spring day — and we certainly weren’t alone in that notion. There’s just something about spring in Maine that makes everyone feel happy to be alive, to have survived the long winter (and this one certainly felt longer than most) and feel the sun on our skin again. It makes everyone you meet on the street — or the footpaths through Fort Williams Park, as the case may be — smile in greeting, as though we all have something in common. And maybe we do. Through choice or circumstance, we all share this beautiful state, for better or worse. We endure the long, cold winter so we can enjoy the rise and fall of each glorious Maine summer.
Invigorated by the ocean air and the sunshine, I came home and made the glazed pecan topping; you’ll be glad there’s a great heap of it on top of the cheesecake, because that way, nobody will notice when you pick a few pecans off to munch on while they cool. I’m not really a nut person, but I found myself snagging a nibble every time I came back to the kitchen for something anyway. Must have been that salt air!
Maple Cheesecake with Maple-glazed Pecans
- 3 8-oz bricks of cream cheese, softened
- 1 7-oz cup Greek yogurt
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup maple syrup (the darker the better)
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup maple bourbon or whiskey
- 2 tablespoons butter
Combine graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and press into a springform cake pan. (I like to line mine with tinfoil, because the bottom doesn’t fit tightly, and it can leak sometimes!) Place crust in the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling, and preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and Greek yogurt until smooth; add eggs and maple syrup, and combine well. Pour into prepared crust and place pan on a cookie sheet (to catch any potential leaks) in the oven. Bake one hour, then turn oven off. Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature along with the oven, then transfer to refrigerator to chill at least 8 hours, or overnight, before unmolding.
For topping: In a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, combine syrup, butter and bourbon (optional, for those who don’t keep alcohol around even for cooking; you could substitute a teaspoon or two of vanilla to add depth. I used Crown Royal Maple Whiskey.) Add pecans and stir until syrup begins to thicken a little. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring/spooning over the top of the cheesecake. Allow topping to cool thoroughly before serving.
For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://www.forkable.net.