Honey Nectarine Cheesecake
At the end of summer, there’s no more tantalizing smell than the floral aroma of a ripe nectarine. This surprisingly light no-bake cheesecake is sweetened with honey, a natural partner to stone fruit. Brushing the nectarine slices with a little melted jam makes them extra glossy, but feel free to skip this step if you want a more rustic look.
- For the crust:
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 1 cup (3 oz./90 g) graham cracker crumbs
- 1⁄4 cup (2 oz./60 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 Tbs. (2 1⁄2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, melted
2 lb. (1 kg) cream cheese
- 1⁄3 cup (4 oz./125 g) honey
- 1⁄4 cup (2 oz./60 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- 3 Tbs. apricot or peach jam
- 4 ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced
Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the almonds, graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Process to grind finely. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs begin to stick together. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom and 2 inches (5 cm) up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, honey and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) of the cream, the lemon juice and the almond extract.
Place 1 Tbs. water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface and let soften for 5 minutes. Place over low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) cream. Add the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Spoon the filling into the crust. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
Remove the pan sides and, using a spatula, transfer the cake to a plate. In a small saucepan, stir the jam over medium heat until melted. Let cool slightly. Arrange the nectarine slices on the cheesecake. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted jam over the fruit. Cut the cake into wedges and serve. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013).