250g cream cheese, softened
½ cup brown sugar
½ vanilla bean split lengthways, seeds scraped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons plain flour
30mls Marsala* (optional)
1 tin (825g) halved pears, store bought
80g butter, melted
1 cup plain biscuits
1 tablespoon cocoa
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup cream
250ml thickened cream, whipped
- For the biscuit base, in a food processor blitz biscuits to a fine crumb, add melted butter and cocoa and mix well. Press biscuits crumb into 20cm springform cake pan to form a base, then place in the fridge to chill.
- Preheat the oven 220°C (425°F). Place mascarpone and cream cheese in an electric stand mixer and mix until smooth. Then add brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat until smooth, then fold in flour and Marsala mix well. Arrange pear halves around the base and cut a smaller section for the middle. Pour mixture over the top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 100°C (200°F) and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until top is set. (If the top is slightly cracked don’t worry this is natural and will subside once cooled). Cool slightly and run a knife around the cake pan and carefully remove the cake ring. Once cold, remove the base and place the cheesecake on a serving plate until ready to serve or chill in the fridge in an air-tight container overnight. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge to reach room temperature before serving.
- For the caramel sauce, Place sugar and two tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until the mixture turns deep amber colour, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush. Carefully add cream (mixture will bubble) and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly (stirring occasionally). Remove from heat and pour into a jug and chill until thickened but still pour-able. You can reheat the sauce a little in the microwave to reach sauce consistency if prepared the day before.
Top cheesecake with whipped cream and swirl caramel sauce on top, using a spoon to make a pattern. Slice the cheesecake and garnish with mint and extra caramel sauce if desired.
*Marsala (Boronia all ‘uovo) can be found at most liquor stores; you can substitute with brandy.