Hello Everyone! I'm submitting my recipe, Champagne Poached Pear No-Bake Cheesecake for the first ever Spiked! Recipe Challenge!, hosted by Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama, and Julie from This Gal Cooks.
The special ingredient for this recipe challenge is champagne. The recipe has to be original.
The inspiration for Champagne Poached Pear No-Bake Cheesecake, started with the 2 huge grocery bags of Bosc pears, I currently have stored in my fridge. I knew that champagne and pears went well together, so they seemed like an obvious starting point.
I ultimately decided to poach the pears in the champagne, and use it as a topping. The original recipe I used came from Taste.com. I altered this recipe slightly by reducing the sugar, because I was afraid, combined with the cheesecake, the final product would be too sweet. I also replaced the cinnamon stick with ground cinnamon, simply because when I went to the spice cupboard to get the cinnamon sticks, they weren't there! I guess they were used for something else. I also added a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor of the poaching liquid. Then, reduced it down (thus concentrating the flavor,) and combined it with the pears, as as part of the cheesecake topping.
Now for the cheesecake....I knew I wanted to add champagne to this as well, but was afraid that if the cheesecake was baked, the champagne flavor would be baked right out. I'm not sure if this would hold true or not, but it sounded logical to me at the time! I decided to go with a no-bake cheesecake. The recipe I used from Food.com called for lemon juice. I decided to replace the lemon juice with concentrated champagne syrup (basically reduced champagne.) I also reduced the amount of sugar in the crust (again, for the fear of over sweetness,) and reduced the amount of vanilla extract to 1/4 of a teaspoon, since I wanted the flavor of the champagne syrup to shine.
Without further ado, I present to you Champagne Poached Pear No-Bake Cheesecake.
Champagne Poached Pear No-Bake Cheesecake
Champagne Poached Pear Topping
6 Bosc pears
1/2 cup sugar
1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine, reserving 1 cup
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
Pinch of salt
20 sheets of Honey Maid graham crackers
11 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup champagne syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Champagne Poached Pear Topping
Step 1: Zest the rind of one lemon and one orange, set aside.
Step 2: Peel the pears, slice in half lengthwise, and scoop core out with a melon baller. Squeeze pears with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
Step 3: Place Champagne, sugar, water, cinnamon, lemon zest, and orange zest in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir until sugar has fully dissolved, then increase the heat, and bring to a boil.
Step 4: While the pears are simmering, add the 1 cup reserved champagne to a small sauce pot, and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until champagne has reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside for cheesecake batter.
Step 5: Remove pears to a dish to cool slightly.
Step 6: Dice slightly cooled pears, and add to a medium sized bowl. Pour reduced poaching liquid over diced pears. Once cooled, refrigerate.
Step 1: Put graham crackers in a resealable bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form.
Pour the the crumbs into a medium bowl; stir in sugar, and melted butter until mixture is well combined.
Step 2: Press crumb mixture into a spring form pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill crust in freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Step 1: Using an electric mixer set at medium high speed, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in sweetened condensed milk a little at a time.
Beat in champagne syrup, and vanilla.
Step 2: Pour 1/2 of the filling into crust. Spread to completely cover bottom crust. With a slotted spoon, add a layer of champagne poached pears. Add the remaining filling, spreading to cover pears. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
When ready to serve, take a butter knife and run it between the crust and the pan. Carefully remove side. Cut into wedges, and spoon champagne poached pears over top. Drizzle with reduced poaching liquid.
This recipe serves 8.
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