This stunning cheesecake has the consistency of crème brûlée. It will be the star attraction on a dessert buffet, so you may have to make two at a time.
Caramelised fig cheesecake
- 240g (2 cups) cake flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 125g butter, chilled and cubed
- 2 large egg yolks
- 30ml – 45ml (2 tbsp – 3 tbsp)
- ice-cold water
- 1 large egg
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g castor sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 225g crème fraîche
- 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds reserved
- 15 fresh figs (see Notes below)
- sugar, to sprinkle
For the base, preheat the oven to 190°C and lightly grease a 20cm fluted tart tin.
Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, using your fingers, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and water and mix to a firm but malleable dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Shape it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface. Line the tin with the pastry and prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry with baking paper, fill with beans and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove the baking paper, discard the beans and bake for another 5 minutes.
Beat the egg and a pinch of salt, and brush the inside of the pastry case. Return it to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin.
For the filling, place the butter, sugar and 1 of the eggs in a large bowl and beat until soft and fluffy, using a wooden spoon or electric hand mixer. Beat in the crème fraîche.
Mix the vanilla seeds and remaining eggs in a separate bowl. Gradually beat the vanilla mixture into the crème fraîche mixture.
Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake until risen and brown, about 25 – 30 minutes. Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Halve the figs lengthways and arrange them neatly on top of the cheesecake. Just before serving, sprinkle the figs with sugar and lightly caramelise the sugar with a blowtorch.
If you can’t find fresh figs, replace them with apples or pears.