Spiced Speculaas Cheesecake

Happy St. Nick’s / Sinterclaas!

I was looking for a very little work, no fuss christmas dessert to add to this year’s list when inspiration struck. New York Cheesecake, made with christmas cookies and warm spices, plus an extra dose of caffein for all the coffee lovers out there, esp. me! Using the instant pot, it’s super easy and turns out super creamy, but there’s also a way to make this cake in the oven.

I like to use quark in my cheesecakes to keep the fat content a bit lower, but I still owe you the recipe to make it yourself. I didn’t forget. Things happened that make it a challenge to get fresh milk, and right now I’m not willing to jump through all the hoops to get some. So feel free to use whatever cream cheese you like. It works great, makes the cake even richer and creamier.

This recipe makes a small cake with 8 slices.

For the crust:

  • 100g spiced speculaas cookies
  • pinch of salt
  • 40-50g butter

For the custard cream:

  • 500g quark (or 450g cream cheese + 50g sour cream)
  • 2 Tbsp instant espresso + 2 Tbsp hot water
  • (or a ristretto = espresso made with half the water)
  • 1 tsp arabian coffee spice mix
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Start with crushing the cookies and mixing them with the butter and salt. A food processor works great, just pulse until you have the texture of wet sand.

Place a round of parchment paper onto the bottom of a 9-10 inch cake tin. If it has a push bottom, it’s easiest to get the cake out later. Cover the sides as well if your pan isn’t non-stick.

Then spread the cookie crumbs and press them flat with the bottom of a drinking glass. Place the cookie tin in the freezer for a few minutes, so the crust can harden up.

Meanwhile, let’s make the custard cream:

Mix everything except the eggs until you get a smooth cream. Break up the eggs in a small bowl with a fork and quickly mix them in. Don’t whip your custard. If you work in any bubbles, the middle of your cake will sink when it cools.

Cover the top of your cake pan with a paper towel and a piece of foil. That way you keep any moisture from raining down on your cake and messing up the top. I used the top of my double decker steamer insert instead of foil to cover the pan. Fits perfectly.

Into the instant pot it goes:

  • add 1/2 cup of water to the pot
  • pressure cook (pressure: high / mode: normal)
  • 28 minutes
  • natural release
  • Take your cake out of the pot once the pressure has come down. Remove the foil and let it cool to room temperature before you cover the top again and place it in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

Into the oven it goes:

  • wrap the bottom of the pan in foil as well, so the cookie crust stays dry
  • place the pan (on a small rack) in a deep baking dish filled with water
  • bake at 180°C / 355F for about an hour
  • remove foil and let cool in the pan on a rack for 2 hours, then wrap the top in clingfilm and move it into the fridge for 6-8 hours

Take your cake out of the fridge and remove it from the pan. As mentioned above, it’s easist if you have a pan with a push bottom. Add some icing if you like. I did this one:

Easiest espresso icing:

  • 1 Tbsp espresso or ristretto
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa (the no sugar kind)
  • about 60g powdered sugar

Mix everything until you have a smooth icing. How much sugar you need depends on the cocoa. You might have to add a little more sugar or water. Drizzle the cheesecake and enjoy!

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