Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Spiked! Recipe Challenge ~ Champagne Poached Pear No-Bake Cheesecake

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 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 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

Cheesecake Crust
20 sheets of Honey Maid graham crackers
11 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

Cheesecake Filling
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.
Once the poaching liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat and add pears, cut side down. Cover pears, and simmer until tender, about 50 minutes.
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.
Increase heat, and bring poaching liquid back to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced to a thin syrup.

Step 6: Dice slightly cooled pears, and add to a medium sized bowl. Pour reduced poaching liquid over diced pears. Once cooled, refrigerate.

Cheesecake Crust

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.

Cheesecake Batter

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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Carrie Robinson said...

Oh wow... this sounds and looks crazy good! :) I need a slice of this right now... no joke! It has been a LONG day, lol!

Thank you so much for entering Julie & I's first ever Spiked! Recipe Challenge! Good luck, dear! :)

Nina @ crazy for cookies and more said...

oh boy this looks good. My husband loves pears so I am going to have to try this!

Anonymous said...

Yum, yum, yum!! Thanks so much for popping over and saying "hi" on my blog! I subscribed (I hope you did too!) so we won't miss a post! :) Have a great week!! - Claire

Rosie said...

Ah hello, fellow cheesecake competitor. I didn't think about using pears, but this looks really yummy. Thanks so much for following along at my blog. I am following back!


Ang said...

Oh Kira, what a great idea to pair (no pun intended) the pear and champagne for a cheesecake - what great recipe for the Spiked Challenge (man this is a tough competition!!) I pinned your recipe to my new Champagne board ( and can't wait to give these a try!!
Happy Thursday!

Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl said...

Wow, this just looks amazing! Thanks so much for linking up at What's In Your Kitchen Wednesday!

Miz Helen said...

Kira, this is a lovely dessert that we would just love. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday.
Come Back Soon!
Miz Helen

annies home said...

this looks very tasty can remember my grandmother had a pear tree in her yard and would make some goodies
come see what I shared at

L.A. said...

This recipes seemed SO intimidating at first, but I really love how detailed and step by step you went. The pictures help too! I think I will be making this for my birthday cake this year! If you're looking for more recipes you should check out my blog

Kira Sanders said...

I have to admit, this recipe was a bit time consuming, but it's not "hard" to make at all! If you have the time, you can totally do it! I'm no expert dessert maker by any means :)

Kira Sanders said...


I wish I had a pear tree! That would be amazing!
I live in So Cal, and I'm lucky enough to have some older trees in my backyard(my house was built in 1946.) I have 2 types of lemons, an orange and a loquat tree. My next door neighbors have a persimmon tree that hangs over our shared fence, and the neighbors behind me have an avocado tree that hangs into my yard. It's like the Garden of Eden! said...

I love the combination of flavors in this wonderful no bake dessert! Thanks for sharing at One Creative Weekend!

Alexis AKA MOM said...

OHHH yummy, I pinned it!

Diana of Diana Rambles said...

WOW! That looks amazing!

Lisa Boyle said...

Oh my goodness! This looks absolutely amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday!" Hope to see you again this week. :-)

Jill said...

Oh yummy! That looks delicious!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

Unknown said...

Looks amazing! I'm planning to try it out this afternoon :) Quick question: did you use the rest of the champagne in the poaching liquid? I noticed Step 3 for the pear topping doesn't mention it (just the water, sugar, and orange/lemon zest).

Kira Sanders said...

Yes, sorry,lol.

In step 3, you use the entire bottle of champagne, reserving 1 cup.

Good Luck with the recipe. I hope you and your family enjoy it!

Will Hopkins said...

How did it taste??? I must know! =)

Kira Sanders said...

It was delicious! The cheesecake was a lot softer than traditional cheesecake, but was still good. The cheesecake was tangy, so the sweetness of the champagne/pear topping was a great balance of flavors.

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